Microsoft Office 365 turns one; education bundle now available

Microsoft Office 365 turns one; education bundle now available

Summary: Office 365 for Education is broadly available as of June 27.


It's been a year since Microsoft released Office 365, its Google Apps competitor. To mark the occasion, the Redmondians are making Office 365 for Education will be broadly available, starting today, June 27.

Microsoft rolled out Office 365 in late June 2011. At that time, Microsoft announced a number of different plans at different price points.

The core Office 365 offering includes Microsoft-hosted Exchange, SharePoint and Lync, supplemented by Webified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote (known together as Office Web Apps). Users have the option of licensing locally-installed copies of Office 2010 Professional Plus, which Microsoft charges for on an annual subscription basis.

Microsoft officials have been reticent to share numbers regarding Office 365 sales and repeated today that the company is still not sharing updated customer or revenue numbers for the offering. However, at one point (in September 2011), one high-ranking Softie did say that Microsoft had signed up 5 million seats of Office 365. An additional data point shared by Microsoft officials was Microsoft's claim that than 90 percent of Office 365 customers were small-business users. (Today's Microsoft press release seemingly sought to make it clear that this doesn't mean higher-end enterprise users aren't moving to Office 365, too, however.)

There are different Office 365 SKUs -- not just plans -- as well. The Standard offering is for users who are OK with their data being stored on Microsoft's multitenant servers. There's also a Dedicated SKU, a recently unveiled Office 365 for Government SKU, and the aforementioned Education SKU.

The Office 365 for Education is the successor to Microsoft's current Live@Edu bundle. Microsoft has been working to move its customers (mentally, at least) from Live@Edu to Office 365 for Education for more than a year. If you want nitty-gritty transition details, I'd suggest this Microsoft Wiki page on Live@Edu to Office 365 for Education migration.

Earlier this year, Microsoft took the wraps off the three "A" plans that are part of Office 365 for Education, and cut the price of its A2 plan for faculty and staff to zero. (That basic plan already was free for students.) Here's Microsoft's full rundown on what's included in Office 365 Plans A2, A3 and A4

Google Apps for Education is the head-to-head competitor of Office 365 for Education. Google and Microsoft have traded barbs and case studies regarding schools choosing each of their respective solutions for the past year-plus.

Microsoft also announced today that Office 365 is now available in 46 new markets, bringing total availability to 88 markets and 32 languages.

Topics: CXO, Collaboration, Microsoft, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • A good job

    MS have certainly done a good job with 365 - or their cloud Office set.

    Especially in the sense of the (free) intergration of Office Web Apps with SkyDrive. I've used the Outlook app through Office 365 for just under a year and have basically stopped using the desktop version. The customer service when I have needed help with domain intergration has been surprisingly attentive, especially for the cost of $7 a month.
  • own cloud office

    You can also create your own cloud based MS Office by using product such as ThinServer XP
  • Office 365 has a lot of potential

    With Exchange, SharePoint, Office and the unified communications service Lync all in the cloud, managing a Windows environment has never been easier or more centralized.

    - Sara
  • Avaya, Cisco and that little guy named ShoreTel?

    I???m sure this story is going to get plenty of bashing for its always a love or hate attitude towards Microsoft. Personally I have to tell you Microsoft got its act together with the Lync side of the offering. We use the hosted version of Lync from WorkSpace and it???s unbelievable how easy this stuff is. My favorite feature is voice mail transcribing. Having a actual transcribed written copy of a voice mail message in your email is the coolest feature in the world. Great job Microsoft and keep those features coming. I???m sure the folks at Cisco, AVAYA and ShoreTel are thinking about you hourly.
  • Office 365 vs SkyDrive Document Editing

    What's the diff? Does anyone know how Office 365 compares to skydrive's online Word and Excel document editing?
  • This is sure to get a lot of attention

    Having done quite a bit of work in the higher education space I can say that uni's are going to be looking at this very hard. The price point is very attractive and the entire bundle together, with no internal IT requirements, will make it hard to resist. Good move on MSFT's part.

    - Eric Shupps
    Eric Shupps