Microsoft details Office 365 for education plans

Microsoft software-plus-services suite is headed to schools a little later this year, and at a discount from the company's version aimed at businesses.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
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Microsoft today unveiled five new plans for its Office 365 suite aimed at giving educational institutions access to hosted Office services, as well as a licensed version of the Office software.

The educational version of Microsoft's Office 365 service, which Microsoft says will be available to K-12 institutions later this year, runs from a free plan that brings things like Web e-mail and antivirus protection, all the way to a $17-per-month plan that includes VoIP and a license to MS Office Professional Plus for faculty and staff. This top-end plan can be had by students for $5 a month:

Microsoft's new educational plans for Office 365
Microsoft's new educational plans for Office 365. Microsoft

As part of the new plans, Microsoft is offering its Lync Online communications platform and SharePoint Online free of charge for students, while charging faculty and staff $10 per month, per user.

Microsoft introduced Office 365 late last year as a re-branding of its Business Productivity Online Services Standards Suite, and has since been it rolling out to an increasing number of businesses as part of a private beta. Missing from the equation had been plans for an educational version, which the company is remedying with today's news.

Along with the new plans, Microsoft said that the number of Live@edu users is up to 15 million students, up from 11 million three months ago. Live@edu is Microsoft's free e-mail, calendaring, and Office Web apps offering, which it's pushed out to institutions through agreements like the one the company made last month with State University of New York, or SUNY schools. Compared to these new Office 365 offerings, Live@edu is on the lower spectrum of utility, though will be getting some performance and security improvements sometime next month.

See also: Previewing Microsoft's Office 365