Microsoft Office 365 Announced For College Students
October 22, 2012

Microsoft Announces Office 365 University For Higher-Education Students

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Windows 8 isn´t the only big thing Microsoft is launching this week. In addition to the new OS, Microsoft will also be announcing and launching some new tablets and other products and services, such as the different versions of their productivity suite Microsoft Office. On Friday, Microsoft announced a plan which gives free upgrades to the latest Office for those who buy the existing version. The Redmond company has also announced a plan to bring their productivity-in-the-cloud services to students at a price they should be able to afford.

Microsoft´s Office 365 moves several productivity tools, such as documents, email and IM, and calendars to the cloud. This service also acts as a web-hosting service, allowing users the chance to launch and maintain a website for their business.

Now, Microsoft will be bringing some of these services to full-time and part-time students, faculty and staff at an affordable $80 for a four-year subscription. The idea of offering “student pricing” is not a new one, of course, but offering this cloud service for more than 50% off could be a great way to bring students into the Microsoft fold.

Students who subscribe to Office 365 University will have access to the New Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word. When paired with Microsoft´s SkyDrive, these students will have all of their documents and data backed up, stored in the cloud and available to them whenever they need them. Notes taken on a smartphone via OneNote will be backed up and available shortly thereafter on any other device. Microsoft will use SkyDrive as a default as well in an attempt to make using the service as painless and seamless as possible.

Students who sign up for Office 365 University will also get an extra 20 GB of storage on SkyDrive, giving them a total of 27 GB. An extra little consideration for students: Microsoft is throwing in 60 Skype World minutes per month with all Office 365 University subscriptions, ideally making it easier for these students to keep in touch with their families. Students who subscribe to this new service are also allowed up to 2 installations on both Macs and PCs and even have the option to upgrade at the same price after 4 years, just in case college lasts a little longer than originally planned.

Office 365 is meant to work hand-in-hand with Office, of course, and while 365 brings some of these apps to the cloud, users who want the full-fledged versions are left to buy the suite separately. In an effort to keep sales strong while everyone waits for the next version of Office, Office 2013, to arrive, Microsoft announced on Friday they´d be offering a free upgrade to anyone who buys Office 2010 from now until April 30, 2013.

Dubbed “Microsoft Office Pre-launch Offer,” users who buy a full copy of Office 2010 or a single standalone application will have the opportunity to upgrade for free to the latest and greatest when it is released. Microsoft has yet to announce a release date, though many expect the suit to ship in late January or early February.

Microsoft has offered free upgrades in the past, but this year is different in that the Windows maker is giving users a choice to upgrade or try out a one-year subscription to their Office 365 service. For example, those who purchase Office Home and Students 2010 will either be able to upgrade to a licensed copy of Office Home and Student 2013 or a one-year subscription to Office 365 Home Premium.

Purchasers of Office Professional 2010, however, have the option to upgrade to Office Professional 2013 or try just a 3-month subscription to Office Small Business Premium. These users also have the option to downgrade to a one-year subscription to Office 365 Home Premium.

Though Office 365 gives users the ability to create and edit their documents online, Microsoft has long been rumored to release iOS versions of their Office suite, bringing iPad users into the Microsoft ecosystem. These apps are expected to launch in March 2013.