In what is expected to be the largest cloud deployment in the United States, Microsoft's Live@edu service has been rolled out to over 700,000 students and staff in Kentucky, the state education department for education has confirmed via Microsoft.
This is the pinnacle point in a series of high profile anti-Google Apps moves which could be a turning point in the company's offering of their Live@edu competing service.
The migration from their old Exchange 2003 on-site service to cloud-accessed Exchange 2010 has also been one of the quickest deployments ever seen, with over half a million accounts being migrated over in a single weekend. There is no doubt that the deployment was assisted by existing Microsoft technologies which would have made the transition smoother.
Live@edu now reaches over 11 million people worldwide in 10,000 schools, across 130 countries.
Google anounced recently that their instant-communication Twitter-like tool Wave was rolled out to Google Apps for Education users, as well as a highly anticipated migration tool to assist switching from Outlook to Gmail. However this does not seem to have had any immediate impact on Google's declining userbase numbers, with many students being moved away from their university-trialed Google pilot service.
One school is Yale, which halted its Google Apps service trial, which Microsoft now sees as an endorsement to its own competing service. Last month, the University of California Davis hit Google hard with their plans to cease their Google Apps trial citing "unacceptable privacy levels".
Google's Apps for Education website states that 8 million students worldwide are using their product, over a third less of what Microsoft currently serves. Though many private industries and organisations are favouring Google Apps for their collaboration features, the student market is still struggling to consider Google over Microsoft in the outsourcing arena.