Microsoft plans to begin rolling out its latest service refresh to its Live@edu academic customers in February 2011, according to a UK Live@edu team blog post.
The February refresh will add federation support, Forefront Online Protection for Exchange functionality and overall performance improvements to the service, the December 17 post said.
Live@edu is a set of Microsoft-hosted services, including hosted Exchange (Outlook Live), Office Live Workspace and SkyDrive storage. (Microsoft also announced in 2009 plans to add hosted SharePoint to the Live@edu bundle.) The suite is available to students and academics. Microsoft is rebranding Live@edu as Office 365 for Education and will be adding new free and optional paid services to that offering in 2011.
According to the Live@edu UK post, the transition to Office 365 for Education is slated for the second half of 2011.
Microsoft still has not disclosed publicly the full pricing and packaging line-up for Office 365. I originally heard that the company was shooting to begin its Office 365 rollout in early 2011. But according to one of my contacts, Microsoft is now planning to commence the rollout in early June, 2011.
“We remain on track to launch Office 365 worldwide in 2011," a company spokesperson said when I asked about the timing of the rollout.
Update: Back to the Live@edu February update. According to an e-mail sent by Microsoft to Live@edu administrators, the upcoming update will commence in January and may take until April to be applied across all Live@edu accounts worldwide. "This service update will include the addition of several features including those to assist deployment of new users, enhancements to the Exchange Control Panel, updates to Outlook Web App (OWA), new capabilities for compliance, policy, SPAM and anti-virus management," according to company officials.(Thanks to @pradeepviswav for more information on the pending update.)