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Microsoft Launching Office 365 University in Early 2013

A new subscription-only version of Office 365 for higher-education students will become available in the first quarter of 2013, Microsoft announced on Friday.

Office 365 University will be sold next year via online and retail outlets, including Microsoft Stores in 52 markets, according to a blog post by the Microsoft Office Team's Jevon Fark.

"Full- and part-time enrolled university and college students, faculty and staff in accredited institutions are eligible to purchase Office 365 University," Fark wrote.

A four-year subscription of Office 365 University is expected to retail for $80, or $1.67 per month, with the option to renew once and extend the subscription to eight years. A subscription allows a user to install the suite on up to two computers. The package will include the Office 2013 versions of Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, OneNote and Access. Additionally, subscribers get 27 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 Skype world minutes per month.

Those who purchase a copy of Office University 2010 or Office University for Mac 2011 will receive a free subscription to Office 365 University whenever it is released, dependent on their eligibility, according to Fark. Both Office 2010 University and Office University for Mac 2011 retail for roughly $100 for a perpetual license.

In addition to Office 365 University, Microsoft also already offers Office 365 for Education. Launched in June, Office 365 for Education is a cloud-hosted version of Microsoft's commercial Office 365 offering designed for accredited schools, colleges and universities, which then issue access to the suite to their teachers and students.

A Microsoft spokesperson explained the difference between the two offerings in an e-mail Monday:

"Office University 365 is only available as a subscription. Office 365 for Education is made available to students through their universities that are signed up for the Office 365 for Education service. Office 365 University will be sold at retail, online and from Microsoft Stores available to any eligible university and college students, faculty and staff."

As longtime Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley noted, the introduction of Office 365 University will bring the Office 365 lineup to eight SKUs: Office 365 Home Premium, Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Small Business, Office 365 Small Business Premium, Office 365 Midsize Business, Office 365 Enterprise and Government, Office 365 for Education and Office 365 University.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editor of Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and AWSInsider.net, and the editorial director of Converge360.

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