Is Microsoft getting serious about education?

Microsoft has been the de facto choice for schools and businesses alike for some time in terms of both operating systems and productivity software. OpenOffice, Linux, a Mac resurgence, and cloud-based applications, however, have certainly put pressure on the company, especially in the educational sector where tight budgets and smart folks drive innovation.

Microsoft has been the de facto choice for schools and businesses alike for some time in terms of both operating systems and productivity software. OpenOffice, Linux, a Mac resurgence, and cloud-based applications, however, have certainly put pressure on the company, especially in the educational sector where tight budgets and smart folks drive innovation.

This week, though, Microsoft announced that it would integrate its live@edu cloud-based services with Moodle via plugins. According to The Journal,

Through a new plugin developed by Microsoft and released today, Moodle users will be able to take direct advantage of Live@edu features, including calendaring, search, e-mail, shared workspaces, storage, and instant messaging.

This actually brings some fairly powerful collaboration tools to an already powerful learning management system.

At the same time, "Microsoft is also introducing its new Education Labs site today, which will focus on software and resources specifically for the education segment." Education Labs will focus on

features and addins and gadgets and other things that will help schools, students, and teachers immediately. And we don't want to go through some of the rigorous protocols and long development cycles that bog down the ability to help with specific needs in the marketplace.

Geez, first a very usable OS in Windows 7, then a renewed focus on education, including support for open source? What will Microsoft think of next?

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