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Google Edu Apps vs. Microsoft Web Apps: Should I have waited?

Did I jump, yanking my district head first, into the cloud too soon? Should we have held off and waited to see if Web Apps, Live@Edu, and Office Live Workspace might meet out needs better than Google's Edu Apps as the Microsoft cloud services are slowly integrated?

At the end of the 2008-2009 school year, our district "went Google." We really rolled out in earnest this August when everyone returned to school and I think it's pretty safe to say that the transition has been really successful. It looks like we'll want to create a separate domain for students so we can restrict their features a bit and segment/monitor our traffic/content better, but overall, the features have been well-received.

As I've also noted recently, we have some users who are really wedded to their desktop Office suites and aren't ready to simply abandon them for the cloud. And here I was thinking I could stop licensing Office! We're getting there, though, and students are using Apps quite naturally, even if some teachers and staff are a bit more reluctant.

But then along comes Microsoft Web Apps. I'll be talking this week with some Microsoft engineers regarding integration of Web Apps with their Live@Edu offerings to be rolled out over the next year. The early beta of Web Apps is pretty slick. So did I jump, yanking my district head first, into the cloud too soon? Should we have held off and waited to see if Web Apps, Live@Edu, and Office Live Workspace might meet out needs better as these services are slowly integrated? (Check out this promo from Microsoft on how their cloud products can "address classroom challenges" during an H1N1 outbreak.)

Honestly, I don't think so. Google Edu Apps serves our needs really well. In fact, it seems to serve our needs better every day as students and staff learn exactly what it can do. We were also using a truly awful mail system provided by our old ISP (who also went away in June), so any switch was an improvement. As I noted in my comparison of the two services, Google Apps is tightly integrated and works well. Even if Microsoft's products end up working equally as well once they're out of beta, schools really can't go wrong with Edu Apps. Unless they're Brown, but that's another story for another day.