Microsoft Launches Free Application For Academic Purposes

Microsoft launches its new cloud collaboration suite Office 365 for academic purposes, specifically aiming at the students of K-12 schools and universities.

The Internet heavyweight Microsoft has announced the launch of its free cloud suite, office 365 to suit the purposes of the students and the academic scholars. Reports say that it will replace the existing Live@edu domain by converting it into the domain of office 365.

The transition process starts after eighteen months, after which it will be automatically converted to the new domain. Although both the applications are targeted to the same category of the audiences, yet both of them contains myriad features distinct from one another.

Microsoft has already notified its users about the domain change in advance through its blog, as the sudden transition to the business edition of the application back in the year 2011 has offended the users leading to a number of complaints regarding the replacement of Office Live Small Business (OLSB) and Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

However, according to the statistics available with Microsoft, the existing education domain Live@edu is serving about 10,000 educational institutions and 22 million students in about 130 countries. It also provides additional services like: Outlook Live for email, Windows Live Messenger for instant messaging, Office Web Applications and Windows Live SkyDrive for 25GB of online data storage.

On the other hand, Office 365 too comes in a variety of new and interesting packages along with its various plans. The standard plan called A2 is available for free and incorporates the version of office 2010 called, Office Web Applications incorporating features like: Exchange Online for operating emails and calendars, SharePoint Online for online merging of files and folders, and Lync Online for conferencing and instant messaging; while plan A3 and A4 are the paid ones with a host of features including those of A2's as its additional components.

Even though Office 365 is a cloud based application, it might often at times ask the users to upgrade their systems, software servers and Internet domain, said Anthony Salcito, the Vice President of Worldwide Education for Microsoft.

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