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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
@Nathan-Great question since some faculty and staff may not need everything or the same set of features it will be great to be able to mix and match plans across the board. It could be as simpl as buying the plans as needed and as users are created the admin can assign the plan level to the user(s) or group(s).
As a follow up to Nathan's question, what are the provisions for "kiosk" workers, or in most schools' case adjunct faculty? Most of them will need only Exchange, but in our situation we'd like to have them also have access to Sharepoint.
Thinking ahead beyond US roll-out - can the location of data created, stored and retrieved be configured/predetermined - e.g. for Data protection/compliance legislation in EU countries.
@Soundguy: You should be able to tack on Voicemail as a standalone for your staff (so, NOT going to A3), although I have no idea what that price would be right now. Probably not as efficient as there is no bundling, but as I understand your situation it might be a simpler and more cost effective solution.
@Nathan: techieg is correct (as always)
@Kelly: Our Kiosk worker here in edu would be Exchange email only, which is Free. If you want to add SharePoint access, that would be A1, for $6 per month. You also get the full Lync functionality. Again, this is all free for students.
@diamond: Don't have the specifics here, but I would assume this would be similar to what we have with Live@edu today, where we have a great presence in the EU.
@Allen: Thank you for all your follow-ups. How (and when, too, I guess) would I find out if a UM-only add-on would be available, and how much it will cost? Will you be posting that sort of information here?
@soundguy: unfortunately, there isn't public info on this yet. I would continue to follow this blog, Office 365.com (coming website refresh) and the service descriptions for the latest info. http://bit.ly/iaxtxq
Internal politics being what they are, I have to ask this question... is it possible to get Sharepoint, Lync, and Office Web Apps for our students without giving them Exchange Online? The rationale is that we do not currently offer Sharepoint, Lync, or Office Web Apps to our students but we do offer email. Being in Canada, there is a perception that there is a loss of privacy were our email to be hosted on US servers (because of the Patriot Act)... this makes it a politically hot potato to outsource email to the cloud. On the other hand, introducing Sharepoint, Lync, and Office Web Apps in the cloud is an easier sell.
Also, still interested in that question regarding Blackberry support (i.e. just email syncing or does it sync email, calendar, and contacts).
@Nathan: Wow, you ask the most difficult questions. I don't think it will be possible. We typically DO offer this option with our Paid offers, because you always have the option of buying the services un-bundled. With a free offer though, I doubt that will be an option. Additionally, you would need them to have the Email Address as their login to all the sites, so I don't see how you could get around it. That Email address serves as the Microsoft Online Serevices ID to work with each service. But the point is still valid, that the information stored in the Web Apps and in SharePoint would still be on our servers, so I think you'd still run into trouble there.
Here is the answer to the Blackberry question, we support BIS: en.wikipedia.org/.../BlackBerry_Internet_Service
@Nathan: That first part was said with a smile :)
I can understand why Canadians would object to having their emails on servers hosted in the US. Its about time MS planted at least one datacenter in Canada since there is already quite a number of them around the US and elsewhere.
Currently my high school is a K-12 Live@EDU customer. My faculty accounts see the Office Web Apps. When Live@EDU transitions to Office365 for Education if I want both my student and faculty accounts to remain free does that mean that my faculty will lose access to the Office Web Apps?
If this is true I have a problem with this. When we originally signed up for Live@EDU we did so with the understanding that we would get email and the web apps for free for both students and teachers. If we had known that we would have to start paying for the web apps for the faculty we would have gone with our other choice Google Apps for Education.
Also will the Exchange Plan 1 always be free for students and faculty? Or will Microsoft add a fee for this plan six months, a year or two years from now?
@Stachowskik: Thank you for your comment. Exchange Online will continue to be free for facutly and staff. You will NOT be forced to pay for Web Apps, as you have a contract with Microsoft that stipulates the terms and conditions of your deal (which is free). Once that contract expires (typically 2 years, varies by school), you will have to make a decision whether or not go with the free or paid plans for facutly. Our customers told us they wanted even more access to productivity tools for their students and we provided that with Office 365 for education. You can get SharePoint Online and Lync Online for free, and Office for only $2 per user per month! That is killer and cannot be competed with by anyone in the industry. In oder to do that, we will need to change the offers in a way that allow us to provide all these services and keep everything running, including building massive datacenters across the world, agents for 24/7 phone support, engineers for our 99.99% uptime guarantee. I apologize if this feels like forced cost, but it is a reality of how we can provide this type of setup for schools and universities.
Additionally, we do offer Web Apps Free with Windows Live. I'd encourage you to check that option out.
@Allen_MSFT: Thank you for the clarification. One other thing I'm confused with is the distinction between Live@EDU and Windows Live. When I'm logged into my Live@EDU account it looks like I have Windows Live. Is this correct? And when Live@EDU transitions to Office365 for Education won't I still have Windows Live?
Live@edu is a combination of our Windows Live services (SkyDrive and Office Web Apps) and either of two Email services (Hotmail or Exchange Online). Since you say it looks like Windows Live, I am guessing that you are in the Hotmail version. Office 365 for education will NOT have Windows Live services built in, but they are free to anyone who wants to go sign up. The distinction here is that you won't have your custom school domain associated with the Windows Live services once you make the transition.
I hope this helps,