Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Microsoft vs Google: Office 365 will be free for K-university education

WDPC machine room
This sounds like a major battle between Google Docs/Plus/Groups/Hangouts and Microsoft for the hearts and minds of students.

The free Office 365 for Education plan includes the online version of Office 2010, called Office Web Apps, instant messaging and conferencing via Lync Online, collaboration capabilities via SharePoint Online, email and calendar via Exchange Online, antivirus and anti-spam protection and individual storage.

For an additional $2.50 per student per month, and $4.50 per faculty/staff per month you get all that plus the full-featured desktop version of Office 2010 Professional Plus and voice mail. For $3 per month per student and $6 per month per faculty/staff, you can add voice communication.
Initial WDPC participating institutions

This "get them while they are young" strategy reminds me of the old days when I worked for IBM. We gave universities an 80% educational discount on computers and went further at times. At UCLA, we built the Western Data Processing Center (WDPC), which had office space for UCLA and IBM employees, and we installed the largest mainframe computers of the time. Universities in the western states could submit jobs remotely -- using high speed paper tape. Students at UCLA and those schools all learned to program and use IBM computers, giving us a competitive advantage over other manufacturers.