Who says you can’t get something for nothing? On the day that Microsoft celebrated the one-year anniversary of Office 365, Microsoft announced that it would provide a free edition of the cloud-based productivity and collaboration platform for K-12 schools, colleges and universities and will prepare for Live@edu migration during the summer.

According to Redmondmag.com, The Office 365 education edition, identical to the commercial version, covers use by teachers, students and administrators and has Live@edu hosted e-mail features as well as hosted solutions such as the Microsoft Office apps, Lync Online, a conferencing and communications package with support for instant messaging, Web conferencing, VoIP calls and video chats; SharePoint Online, a multipurpose server solution used for creating sites, sharing documents and collaborating; and Exchange Online, the enterprise-class edition of Microsoft’s hosted e-mail, calendar and contacts management system. The Office 365 education edition also includes Microsoft’s Office Web apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

Early adopters on the higher education front include Gonzaga University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the National University of Ireland Galway, Dartmouth College and Cornell University.

Early adopters on the K-12 front include the Tennessee Department of Education, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, and the Fresno Unified School District in Fresno, Calif.

Managed IT services providers that specialize in working with Microsoft products and providing services for clients in the education sector have an opportunity to teach their clients and prospects, through seminars, webinars, white papers, etc., how to effectively use Microsoft Office 365 in their offices and in classrooms.

Those who want to learn more can do so at Microsoft’s Live@edu upgrade page, the Microsoft in Education page and the Microsoft Office 365 for Education page.

As your trusted Microsoft Partner we are here to help you get the most out of your Information Technology.  Contact us today to learn how we can support your free Office 365 environment today.  We are here to be your trusted Microsoft cloud specialists.