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Today we are pleased to announce that more students than ever are using Live@edu, the world's leading cloud suite for education. Live@edu is used by more than 15M students worldwide, up from 11M just three months ago. In addition, we are sharing more information about Office 365 for education, our next generation cloud productivity service for schools and universities. Building upon on our success with Live@edu, Office 365 for education now delivers even more capabilities for students, enabling us to deliver on our commitment to schools and universities like never before. With the release of Office 365 later this year, students will now have access to Lync Online free of charge. This means easy collaboration on assignments and instant team meetings as well as IM, voice and even video chat with the click of a button. Additionally, presence information now begins to show up throughout, so students can see at a glance if a colleague is available and get things done quicker.
That's not all. Students will now also have access to SharePoint Online; you guessed it, for free! SharePoint Online allows students to securely upload, share and collaborate on documents, including in-place editing access (with Office Web Apps) from anywhere with internet access, whether that is the dorm, library, on the go or at home for the holidays. And as the world of social networking becomes increasingly prevalent in our lives, SharePoint Online delivers MySites. Using their personal sites, students can organize, track and easily share classroom and course information, interests, expertise and most importantly, keep in touch with the lives of their classmates.
But it doesn't end there. We designed Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online to work together, but not all schools have the ability to deliver this powerful platform to their students. So today we are also announcing the availability of the Office Desktop software for just $2 per student per month. This completes our productivity picture for institutions, providing students the tools they need to be successful, both today in their studies and later in the workplace.
In the following video, Jon Perera, General Manager of Education Strategy, discusses this evolution and provides more details about today's announcement on Office 365 for education.
-Allen, Office 365 Product Manager
Office 365 for Education
Office 365 Virtual Pressroom
These are free to Students assuming the Staff pay a monthly fee - this is a different price model to Live@Edu.
Could you clarify the price model for Office 365 for Education? Specifically, will the services now provided as Live@EDU continue to remain free for educators and staff without further requires (as suggested by Nic above)? That seems to be the implication in the fact sheet (www.microsoft.com/.../O365EDUFS.docx) but it's not clear that control and management features, OWA, single sign-on, IT support will also remain free.
Google Apps for Education, the primary competitor to Live@Edu and the coming Office 365 for Education offering, is free (for both students and educators/staff) and includes their versions of the web applications that compete with Office Web Apps and some of the Microsoft collaboration tools. It would appear from the announcement that educators and staff will need to pay $10/month for these. Will this pricing strategy drive more schools to consider Google rather than Microsoft for their cloud services?
Please comment on your strategy here ...
Would it be possible for an organization to use in-house Exchange/SharepointLync for faculty/staff and Microsoft Office 365 for students (level A1 or A2) without any charge?
@Nic: Not exactly, you don't need to have facutly and staff included at all in order to get the free offers for students. It is not a pre-req. The pricing details are in the video and in the fact sheet linked in the first paragraph. Faculty can still get free services, including Exchange Online with email, calendaring and contacts, but will pay for the new and additional features.
@GMJ: Students are free, even with the additional features and capabilities. Live@edu today contains Outlook Live and Windows Live services such as SkyDrive, Office Web Apps etc. Faculty will still be able to get Outlook Live (Rebranded as Exchange Online) for free.
And, Yes, control and management features are a part of the service.
@Ryan: Yes, this is absolutely an option. There are no prerequisites for the students free-of-charge offers.
Today Live@edu customers are already using Exchange Online capabilities for free.
SharePoint Online and Lync Online are exciting additions to the offer, fulfilling many of the customer scenarios provided by Windows Live services today. Customer scenarios such as the ability for students and teachers to leverage online conferencing for Distance Learning, will now be enabled through rich capabilities of the Office 365 for education.
The evolution of Live@edu to Office 365 for education is based on the strong feedback from customers and partners to provide IT managed solutions, especially in K12.
These solutions provide institutions with a security enabled online learning environment that uses social networking to enhance collaboration. Institutions can build team sites to share, manage and search for information and resources. The solution not only provides large 25GB mailboxes and the ability to send attachments up to 25 MB, but also anywhere access to e-mail, important documents, contacts and calendar on nearly any device, including PC, Mac, Windows Phone, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. In addition to providing access to Office Web Apps for viewing, sharing and light editing of documents, the offer works with the programs students know and use most, Microsoft Office.
Faculty, Staff and Administration will continue to get the IT managed Exchange Online solution for free, Students will get the core capabilities of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, for free.
For Parents, will Exchange Online be free? Actually in Live@edu is free of charge
Could you tell me how you plan to differentiate between staff and students? (i.e. tell who is who for charging) Or will the licensing be purely a paper exercise?
Ah... I am really confused. I read about Office365 being announced in October 2010 and read about how every student on the planet is able to use the service but its not available to me. But I should continue to wait and check back every few days to see when its available and read about how others use it successfully.
How stupid am I?
So, let me get this straight. According to the "A Family Plans" graphic that was shown in the video, not only are educational institutions going to have to pay for the new services, but also for some of the services that we're currently getting for free. For example, in the pricing graphic, if you want IM, Office Web Apps and any kind of collaboration (see Plan A2), you'll need to pay $10/month for faculty and staff.
In the Live@Edu model, those services are all being provided for free, regardless of whether you're a student or a faculty/staff member.
It's admirable that Microsoft is offering these services to students for free, but with IT budgets shrinking rapidly, most educational institutions (at least K-12) are looking to services like Live@Edu and Office 365 for Education as a means to stretch their dollar. If a school district has 500 faculty and staff members and they want to only offer that is currently available to them with Live@Edu (for free) when Microsoft decides to switch to Office 365, that translates to (again using plan A2) roughly $60,000/year. Not many IT budgets can handle a $60,000 hit just to maintain the same level of service they're offering their staff.
This appears to be a great business model for driving educational institutions to the other major competitor in the arena that offers all of their services for free.
@rmari At this time, we are able to provide the pricing information for Office 365 for education for Students, Faculty and Staff. More details on Parents will come later. Thanks for your comment
@Bait - The current Live@edu contracts will continue to be honored through the term of the contract. Windows Live services such as SkyDrive and Office Web Apps on SkyDrive are available to consumers worldwide for free.
In addition to meeting digital learning needs, educational institutions are looking for greater degree of manageability and control to address data security, privacy and ownership aspects, especially in the K12 segment. Office 365 for education provides these capabilities and much more, to help address these core customer needs.
It would be nice if Edu365 could be more customizable. At the moment Live@Edu only allows to set some theme colors and the header, and the footer is not running.
The video implies that there is an "A0" level which includes Online offerinces of Exchange, Lync, Sharepoint, and Office Web Apps for students and Exchange Online for faculty and staff for free. Have I understood this correctly?
I'm also curious about the Blackberry integration that is included in Exchange Online. Is it just BIS integration where Blackberries can sync email or is it BES integration which includes email, calendar, contacts etc (or something different :).
What is the Contract Term for all 15m students + Faculty/non teaching staff currently enjoying Live@edu services ?
Great to see the new product information. In reading through it, I have three basic questions.
First, about the automatic account creation and linkage which currently exists between Outlook Live and Windows Live. I like a lot of the new features of Office 365, but I'm afraid you're going to break the fully automatic linkage to Windows Live (and its instant messaging features) when you move us to Office 365. Is that true? I ask because, with Live@Edu, we depend on the linkage between Outlook Live and Windows Live to deliver IM via Windows Live Messenger. Currently, when I create a user in Outlook Live, a Windows Live account for that user is also created, and if someone in Windows Live is squatting on the same user account, I can boot the person out of Windows Live and yank control of that account back into my domain again to let my current user use that account. This linkage between Outlook Live and Windows Live is really helpful. And, as I said before, I really, really like the free instant messaging.
Second, about the free educational version of Office 365 version and its ability to integrate with on-premises installations of Lync Server. If we choose to install Lync Server locally, can we use Exchange Online for the UM store? You cite UM in one of your pricier models, but that's assuming that the customer buys Lync services from Microsoft instead of using their own on-premises Lync server. If I deploy Lync locally for presence and IM...
(1) Will the Lync client be able to integrate with the presence and IM tools in Exchange Online's Outlook 2010 and Outlook Web App? and
(2) Will I be able to use Office 365 Exchange as the UM server in a local Lync Server with Enterprise Voice deployment?
Third, about single sign-on. Will Office 365 support AD synchronization without needing to invest in ILS Manager? I would reeeeealllly like for our staff and students to not have to manage two separate passwords--one for the local network and one for Office 365. It would be sooooo nice to have Outlook 2007 and 2010 log them in without prompting them for a password (a password which is *not* their Windows password--though they don't normally get that intuitively, since they're not entering the password through a web browser) and to have domain password resets mirrored out to the user's corresponding Office 365 account. Ideally, this would be handled at the server level and be possible without requiring the deployment of that BPOS desktop app on every computer.