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Microsoft Transitions Live@edu Into Office 365 - But is it an Upgrade?

March 22, 2012 by Richard Turley

Microsoft Live@Edu | Control-Z IT Microsoft’s Live@edu suite has proven a game changer for many academic institutions. The hosted software suite has given many schools convenient access to much-needed Microsoft technologies, allowing the schools to in turn provide free web-based services to their students.

But, as always, there are changes afoot at Microsoft. These include some important changes to the Live@edu setup. 

 Microsoft has rolled out a new product called Office 365 Education, which offers an even larger array ofOffice 365 Education hosted software options aimed at schools. The company is making a push for schools that have benefited from the Live@edu suite to transition into Office 365 Education. Is this actually a move that will benefit educational institutes? On that matter, the jury is still out.

A Change for the Better?
Both of these software packages offer many perks. Live@edu provides students with free access to cloud-based capabilities including Outlook, Live Messenger, Windows Live SkyDrive, and more. Microsoft executives have made it clear that Office 365 Education will provide students with an even wider array of services. For example, Office 365 Education will allow students and teachers to work together via the hosted collaboration software Sharepoint. The Office suite also includes Lync, an instant-messaging client.

The problem that many IT administrators have with this software has to do with price. Microsoft Office 365 Education will prove more costly to teachers, who will have to pay for features that they did not have to pay for before. In the eyes of some IT professionals, this is something of a bait-and-switch. Users were able to implement Live@edu cost-effectively, but are now facing the tough decision of a more costly upgrade for a richer set of features. Here is a comparison of both cost and services provided by Live@edu and Office 365 education:

* Information is accurate as of March 22, 2012

Bait and Switch?
The bottom line is that Microsoft’s Office 365 Education offers a great array of features, for academic institutions that are willing to pay for it. However, some school IT specialists will surely find the new software to be disconcerting. These IT pros may have talked their schools into utilizing Live@edu, thinking it would remain a free service. They may now feel as though Microsoft is pushing them to pay for upgrades to their existing service.

This is not to say that the transition from Live@edu to Office is all bad, of course. For some schools, it might be a boon. But there are pros and cons to consider, and it’s best to do so with the help of a professional IT firm. Control-Z is a Microsoft Authorized Education Reseller that offers IT strategy and solutions to academic institutions, helping them improve enrollment and learning outcomes.

Microsoft AER | Control-Z IT.