Microsoft is taking the lead in the race to provide email services to educational institutions across the country with Western Australia-based Edith Cowan University announcing it will soon begin rolling out the Live@edu hosted email platform to 36,000 students.
Edith Cowan is now the 13th university in Australia to move across to the Live@edu offering following an open tender process. It has replaced the university's in-house Mirapoint system.
The university’s IT project management team and a panel of students tested several options before choosing Live@edu, citing ease of use and familiarity as reasons for making the final decision.
“With Live@Edu already a tried and tested product, we expect the transition will be smooth for both our solution implementers as well as our student adopters,” the university’s IT support services manager, Mark Ridge, said in a statement.
“It’s important for us to get the students’ feedback,” Ridge said. “At the end of the day, you can pick Microsoft or Google, they’re both going to do the job, but in our environment we thought the Microsoft solution was the best for us."
Ridge said Microsoft's live service desk assistance, which accompanies its suite of products, sealed the deal.
The Live@edu suite of online applications includes Microsoft Outlook Live, Microsoft Office Live Workspace and SkyDrive storage, which provides students with a 10GB mailbox capacity.
In addition to a hosted email account, the students will also have access to Windows Live Messenger and file sharing, Windows Live Spaces for personal web publishing, blogging and photo sharing and FolderShare and a private peer-to-peer network.
The move comes as universities adopt the trend of shifting their student email into the cloud, to save money and give IT staff greater flexibility.
However, Microsoft’s main rival in the education space, Google, has also moved five universities across to its Google Apps for Education offering, including Monash University, Macquarie University, University of Adelaide, University of Southern Queensland and the University of Western Australia.
Last year Google also landed a contract with the NSW Department of Education and Training to support 1.3 million school students with Gmail.
Edith Cowan students will begin using the Live@edu platform from the start of the 2010 academic year.