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Microsoft Gains New Online Service and [email protected] Customers

Microsoft today named new companies that have subscribed to its hosted Exchange/SharePoint services, as well as colleges and universities that shifted to its [email protected] services.

Business subscribing to the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) include DuPont, Spotless Group Ltd. and Sunoco Inc. BPOS solutions consist of service offerings based on Exchange Online, Microsoft Lync Online (formerly Communications Server), Microsoft Office SharePoint Online and Microsoft Office Live Meeting.

The new college subscribers to Microsoft's [email protected] services include three California State campuses plus some others. [email protected] is Microsoft's free communication and collaboration suite for education. The services, which support Mac OS X, Windows and Linux systems, provides a range of hosted solutions for education institutions. Those solutions include Office Web Apps, e-mail (with 10 GB in-boxes for each user), Windows Live SkyDrive storage (25 GB per user), video chat, IM, alerts, blogs, and various collaboration and document sharing services.

Last month, Microsoft also announced that the state of Minnesota had subscribed to Microsoft's BPOS solutions. Microsoft is providing dedicated hosting for some of the state's collaboration and communications needs.

As for the BPOS subscribers, DuPont (58,000 employees) switched to Microsoft's online services to provide collaboration support for its global employees and partners, replacing its Lotus Notes e-mail system. DuPont is using hosted SharePoint to support "a secure extranet" to outside partners, according to Microsoft's announcement. Philadelphia-based oil company Sunoco moved to Microsoft's online services to scale up its backend operations. Australia-based Spotless Group, a "provider of contract management and retail supply chain solutions," is using Microsoft's online services to connect 4,500 contractors and 37,000 employees worldwide, according to Microsoft's announcement.

The [email protected] subscribers include three of the more populous campuses in the massive California State University system, which are shifting their mail and document collaboration to a cloud-based solution for students, faculty and alumni. San Francisco State University and Cal Poly Pomona have already made the move to [email protected] The third campus, California State University at Long Beach (CSULB), is expected to begin the move this fall. Combined, the three Cal State campuses represent more than 80,000 current students. Services are also being extended to alumni in the cases of San Francisco State and Cal Poly Pomona.

Cal Poly Pomona had considered Google's hosted services but opted for Microsoft's [email protected] services instead. The university cited several factors for the migration from its Exchange system to [email protected], including integration with existing systems, support for a wide range of file types and [email protected]'s lack of advertising. The university's IT staff made the results of its evaluation publicly available here.

San Francisco State moved to [email protected] because of its accessibility features and ad-free environment. The service also offered expanded storage capacity (40 times greater than what was previously provided by the university), savings on software and hardware, multiple device compatibility, security, support, and provisioning and authentication.

CSULB adopted Microsoft's cloud-based [email protected] solutions for "increased e-mail storage, access on mobile devices, and...usability for individuals with disabilities," according to Microsoft. The migration is expected to be complete either in the late fall or early spring.

In addition to the three CSU campuses, several other colleges and universities have also migrated to [email protected], according to information released Monday by Microsoft. Aston University (65,000 students) moved to [email protected] following a dual pilot program conducted last fall that involved [email protected] and Google, both of which were under consideration as replacements to the university's legacy Unix-based system. College of DuPage (30,000 students) integrated [email protected] with its student portal. Northern Kentucky University (15,000 students) is providing the service to both students and faculty. The State Center Community College District (34,000 students) is delivering the service to some 56,000 alumni and is looking to save $100,000 by shifting away from postal communications to e-mail. University of Montana (14,000 students) made the switch to increase storage for student accounts without incurring additional costs. Washington University in St. Louis (11,000 students) migrated its students to [email protected] this fall to reduce costs and improve e-mail services.

According to Microsoft, with the addition of the campuses announced today, [email protected] is now available to more than 11 million students in more than 10,000 schools worldwide.

About the Author

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.

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