If you haven’t checked out the productivity suite offerings available in “the cloud” then it may be time to do so. The latest announcements from Microsoft re Office 365 suggests that the transition to the clouds is moving apace. As ZDNet points out Microsoft’s change from their original Live@Edu to the latest iteration is a major concession that the cloud is the future, (at least in the foreseeable future).
It will be interesting to see how education authorities deal with this change and whether as in the past with desktop applications, they will enter into volume purchase agreements to make the Office 365 available to students and staff. This will continue to entrench the pre-eminence of Microsoft which may or may not be a good thing. One thing that will no doubt result from this release will be that Google Docs, (and other cloud players such as Zoho) will continue to expand and develop their suite of offerings which will ultimately be good for us all.
There. I said it. This dyed-in-the-wool Google Apps fan and Google Docs power user just admitted that the new Office 365 for Education was leapfrogging Google Apps for Education even as I write this post. Remember when Microsoft launched its “We’re all in” cloud computing campaign and most of us thought it was nonsense? I mean, how could a company that makes so much money on desktop computing come up with a slogan like that? As it turns out, Office 365 for Education, detailed today at the Microsoft Education Conference in London, makes the cloud a powerful platform for education and collaboration in a genuinely unified way that its competitors (cough, ahem, Google, cough, cough) just haven’t managed to achieve.