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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
I read about Office365 being announced in 2010 too.
And I know about, how every student in Brazil is able to use the service?
André Luiz Bernardes
A&A® - Work smart, not hard.
Blog Office VBA: inanyplace.blogspot.com
Blog Excel: brzexceldeveloper.blogspot.com
Blog Access: brzaccessdeveloper.blogspot.com
Great news on the Office365 for Education. What I understand from this is that faculty/staff get Exchange Online for free and students get the full Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online for free whether the school signs up to pay for faculty/staff or not. And if faculty/staff want to join in the rest of the fun, it all starts at $6/user/month for them and students remain free anyway in the A1 and A2 plans. I think this is fair enough considering the endless possibilities that SharePoint Online brings to the table with custom development of academic management systems and perhaps academic templates for faculty/student and administration. Competitors may be free for both faculty/staff and students but seldom deliver anything viable other than consumer grade services. Please roll out more exciting news and especially developer news and info on academic and business templates for SharePoint Online, Identity Federation and Active Directory, Windows Live Identity Management, etc.
This might as well be the best thing to happen to education, where they can save a lot by getting rid of expensive Blackbaud, SunGard, PeoplSoft, etc and get what they actually need delivered within SharePoint Online all with Single-Sign-On, a streamlined UI/UX, etc.
Plan B: hopefully faculty members are smart enough to realize that Web Apps are free to anyone, so they don't need to pay $4 more a month to add them to their Plan A service.
That's just one example of the problems with this presentation. The number of questions being asked here also clearly indicates MS has made the pricing structure and it's comparison to live@edu as clear as mud.
One question if anyone can answer if you go with the lower cost plans will you get UM with Exchange and as someone else already asked can you hook it up with a local instance of Lync Server? Hope someone can answer this.
@Lluis: Thanks for the feedback, I'll pass it along. I know we've worked with schools to customize the looks in the past
@Nathan: Yes you are correct. Students get free up to A2 anyway, but for Faculty and Staff, you can get Exchange Online with email, calendaring and contacts for free.
I don't have the specifics on the Blackbery integration yet, let me follow up with that one. I know for email at least it will be supported.
@diamond: the contract term in most cases is 2 years
@soundguy: You are about to be very happy :).
1) You are getting Free IM! As announced above, Lync Online is free for students and is our more advanced version of Windows Live Messenger. Additionally, we offer public IM connectivity so your students and Staff can use Lync to communicate not only to each other, but also to Windows Live users. Lastly, I would expect it to work exactly like you mentioned with squating.
2) Yes to all your questions.
3) Yes, if you have Active Directory you can link it with your Office 365 users for single sign on abilities.
@techieg: Thanks for the comment, we are really excited about it too. More information will be continually coming.
@webbrewers: Thanks for the comment. We try not to make it complicated, but there are too models to follow here. 1) (not MS way) Simple and easy, everyone gets the same thing. No customization and choice. 2) (MS way) Provide lots of options and choices to let the customer decide what they want. We've had great feedback from our schools and partners that this is better, since it allows them to do what is best for their situation.
@Benjamin: You need to go for A4 in order to add in the Lync server, but if you do, you get both UM with Exchange and it will hook up with the Lync Server.
Hey Allen, thanks for the response. Couple of follow-ups.
1) You say, "You're about to get free IM!" But we already have free IM, and it's for students AND for faculty, via the automatic linkage between Windows Live and Outlook Live. Will Windows Live accounts still be automatically reserved when we make an Office 365 account? Correct me if it's wrong, but basic Lync IM is not "free" for faculty members (?).
It is a lot less expensive for me to run my own Lync server than it is to pay for the Office 365 service. I'm the only IT guy, so it's not as if the school is going to fire me and go with Office 365 in order to cash in a little more on TCO savings. Sure, I'd love to offload the IM to you, but there's no way our school board is going to fork out $6,000 a year just to get IM for our faculty (which is what it would cost us in the new Office 365 for Education pricing structure).
2) If the answer to the above paragraph is, "You're not going to get free Lync for your faculty," then can I install my own Lync server on-premises which our faculty use and then connect that server to the Office 365 (for students) online Lync server for connecting to students and have the two work together as if they're all part of the same organization--without moving up from the free Office 365 service? I have these visions of students trying to find their profs in the Lync directory and not finding them listed in there. Just the students.
Also, just to clarify then--you're saying that we can attach to the free version of Exchange Online and use it as the UM server in conjunction with our on-premises, non-Office 365 installation of Lync? This would be really good if that's what you're saying.
3) Regarding the single sign-on--so, no more need for ILS, not need for users to enter their Outlook 2007 password when Outlook starts because it uses the logon credentials, and the online password will be updated whenever the on-premises user updates their account? That would be great if all these things are true! What tools will we be using for this? Federation Services? My internal domain is a ".local" domain.
One more thing...what is "squating"? :)
@Soundguy - I don't think any school will fire their IT guy to save revenue simply because they move to Office365. They still need you to setup and manage it for them and I'm sure the cost savings that Office365 presents will be enough for them anyway.
I like what I have read so far, the following MS post also mentions Education-specific SharePoint Online templates; www.microsoft.com/.../01-11Office365Education.mspx
...I can't wait to see what they offer and what custom development can be done. It will be great to see MS bring an even more refined version of SharePoint Learning Kit (SLK) as an elearning template as well as other management and administrative templates, at the price point schools will jump on the bandwagon. This is more of what will diferentiate Office365 from others.
@Soundguy: thanks for the follow up comment. You are correct, "You are getting free IM" statement is for students, which is what I understood your question to be. Faculty and Staff will not get free IM, but instead be $6 per user/month.
As for Live ID, they are not technically the same, but if the 365 ID (actually called a Microsoft Online Services ID) is not taken in the Windows Live ID directory, then you can have both tied to the same email address. But that is not automatic and will need to be done by the user if they wish. Not sure I see a need for anyone to do this with the new service, so I'd appreciate feedback on why you would continue to do this.
You asked what "Squatting" is..Your sentence previously was "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". You used it correctly, it is when someone else goes and grabs a domain that they have no reason to own. For instance, if they knew Microsoft was going to release a new product named Foo, they would go get Foo.com so we couldn't. But I didn't understand your statement though because nobody could possibly have your schools domain, and therefore nobody would be squatting on it on Windows Live. Could you clarify this?
2) Yes, it may be less expensive for your situation to run a Lync Server on premise. You will be able to link (no pun intended) your Lync Online and Lync Server solutions, although NOT right at GA, although shortly after. If you are a Live@edu customer, by the time you would be moved it should be available. You will be able to communicate with the two no problem. (we build our products to work together :))
Also, you will get presence and Lync functionality with your Lync Server combined with the free offer for Exchange Online for your Staff. As for UM, I was incorrect. All the features and functionality will work with your particular setup accept Voicemail in your inbox. That would incur an additional cost.
3) Could you clarify what ILS is? Not sure i know what you are referring too. Once I know that I'll give you my answer.
One of the drawcards of Live@Edu was "email for life" for students. Will they still have access to these services after leaving the college/varsity/school? If not, email at least?
Will EDU organizations be able to set up a rule to route their email to an external journaling provider as other 365 organizations can?
@Gary: this is a decision for the school to make, not Microsoft. We will continue to provide email and many of our services free to schools, and if they choose to do so, they can continue to provide these to alumni. I would expect that email (at the very least) will continue forever, the other services become less relevant and therefore might have a different situation.
@Steve: Read this from the Office 365 service description...www.microsoft.com/.../details.aspx
Administrators can configure Exchange Online to journal copies of emails to any external archive that can receive messages via SMTP. For example, administrators can journal emails to an on-premises archiving solution or Exchange Hosted Archive, but the journaling destination cannot be an Exchange Online mailbox. Administrators can manage journal rules in the Exchange Control Panel or Remote PowerShell and can configure journaling on a per-user and per-distribution list basis, scoping the journaling to internal recipients, external recipients, or both. Journaled messages include not only the original message but also information about the sender, recipients, copies, and blind copies.
See help.outlook.com/.../ff633680.aspx for details.
@Allen--Thank you for your help. Would it be possible for customers to buy the UM functionality only to enable voicemail interoperability with their on-premises Lync installations? They might not need the other features intervening between the free package and the far-right package--just the enablement of the UM functionality in Exchange. The customers who would order only UM are not the kind of customers who are going to respond to an offer of, "Well, you just have to get all or nothing." They're just going to buy nothing, which is lost revenue for Microsoft. So it would work in both party's favor. Otherwise, I don't know how I could add voicemail to my local Lync + Enterprise Voice installation. Could I install Exchange 2010 locally with the UM role and point it at the hosted mailboxes? Would the free installation support that sort of setup (and would Exchange itself even support that sort of installation)?
Sorry, I mean ILM, not ILS. :)
Thanks for your clarifications. Will it be possible to license some faculty and staff for the A1 level and some for the A4 level?