Microsoft Outlines Benefits of Software Plus Services to Higher Education at EDUCAUSE

Editor’s note – Oct. 28, 2008 –
The University of Washington is a Microsoft customer, but not a participant in the Live@edu program. The reference was updated post-publication.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Oct. 28, 2008 — This week at EDUCAUSE 2008, a premier information technology event in higher education, Microsoft Corp. is showcasing new additions to its software plus services plans for education as part of the company’s effort to support agile, efficient and connected education systems and institutions. This next generation of computing provides institutional customers with new levels of flexibility and choice, as well as greater ease in developing, migrating, operating and managing systems that are distributed and federated between the cloud and the campus.

Today as part of the Professional Developers Conference 2008 in Los Angeles, Microsoft unveiled a new addition to the Microsoft Live@edu service, Office Web applications, new lightweight versions of Microsoft Office applications. Yesterday at PDC, Microsoft announced Windows Azure, the cloud-based service foundation underlying its Azure Services Platform, and highlighted the platform’s role in delivering a software-plus-services approach to computing.

“Administrators in higher education have debated for years on whether or not to use on-campus software or hosted, off-campus services,” said Anthony Salcito, general manager of U.S. Public Sector Education at Microsoft. “They will no longer need to make this draconian choice. They can use the best of both. They should find this to be exactly what both faculty and students want in this digital age.”

Beginning With Microsoft Live@Edu, Education Institutions Expect Innovation and Cost Savings

Higher education institutions are seeking new ways of enhancing the IT investments they have already made and new reasons to consolidate their systems to ensure maximum savings and efficiencies. New cloud technologies enable convenient access to central applications and provide consolidation (and cost reduction) benefits. With hosted services and storage, for instance, customers are finding new savings. Schools are already seeing benefits with Microsoft Live@edu, a suite of messaging, mobile, and collaboration and productivity services that enables virtual campuses, where students and educators can benefit from the free flow of information and ideas within each learning community.

St. John’s University administrators have found that Live@edu is one solution that is helping to strengthen their business and empower their work. While they plan to provide a more cost-effective solution by fully utilizing the hosted Microsoft Exchange Server-based e-mail service for all students, they are also going to take advantage of the hosted collaboration and virtual file storage capabilities across all their campuses. This will enable them to keep faculty and students connected on the same collaboration platform, while solving their long-term needs for classroom collaboration pages and team project workspaces.

“The millennium student comes to St. John’s expecting the latest technologies and online experiences that they have grown up with,” said Gary Young, associate director of Academic Technology of St. John’s University. “Now with the Microsoft Exchange Labs solution, we get enterprise-level hosted e-mail and collaboration tools.”

University of Central Florida Chief Information Officer Joel L. Hartman agreed. “We launched Live@edu as our new student e-mail platform in August, and so far, more than 27,500 students have signed up for the service — thousands per day at times. Early feedback suggests that our students are delighted with the Live@edu features, especially Skydrive and Office Live Workspace,” he said. “Live@edu provides our students not only a robust and easy-to-use e-mail platform, but also an increasingly powerful range of tools and services they can use to support their academic work and social activities.”

Announcing Office Web Applications: A New Cloud Service

Microsoft will release a private technical preview of four Web applications later this year — Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote — enabling people to view, edit and collaborate on Office documents in a Web browser, as well as post them to blogs and Web sites.

Web applications will be delivered to students across multiple browsers including Windows Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox through Microsoft Office Live Workspace and Microsoft Live@edu. For institutional customers, the Office Web applications will also be available as a hosted subscription, as well as through existing Volume Licensing programs. Office Live Workspace beta is the Web-based extension of Microsoft Office that empowers users to create collaborative workspaces to access, share and organize documents and projects for school, work or home.

“Through Office Web applications, Microsoft is enabling the development of the next generation of student computing experiences,” said Kirk Gregersen, director of Office Live product management at Microsoft.“By empowering students with the ability to edit an Excel spreadsheet in the browser, view an Excel spreadsheet using their mobile phone, or populate the spreadsheet using Office 2007 software, a campus community facilitates rich cloud experiences with the tools that students and information workers expect.”

Universities interested in learning more about the upcoming beta availability are encouraged to sign up for either Microsoft Live@edu at or the Office Live Workspace beta at The University of Washington, a participating university in the Office Live Workspace beta pilot program, has previewed Office Web applications. Scott Barker, director of IT and Informatics Chair for the University of Washington Information School, said, “It’s critical for our students to have the latest technology in order to succeed in their classes. Microsoft Office Web applications will provide our students with the choice of writing a paper, for example, in the cloud, or writing it via the desktop using Microsoft Word. Having those critical, seamless touchpoints with documents is crucial. Web Applications provides students with the means — at any time of day, from anywhere — to access, edit, share and collaborate with other students or faculty using just the browser.”

Microsoft at EDUCAUSE

Microsoft is a Platinum sponsor at Educause 2008, and this year’s attendees will have the opportunity to see and learn more about Microsoft’s new and emerging software-plus-services solutions for education. Technology demonstrations and theater presentations at the Microsoft booth will focus on how customers can improve IT infrastructure, open valuable communication lines, and innovate to save institutions time and money. On Thursday, Oct. 30, Anthony Salcito, Microsoft general manager of U.S. Public Sector Education, will speak on Microsoft’s vision for cloud computing and emerging technologies from 8:10 to 9 a.m. in room W223.

More information about Microsoft at EDUCAUSE 2008 can be found at

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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