Microsoft has offered to give the University of Nebraska $250,000 dollars to make the switch from IBM Lotus Notes to a much more feature-rich Office 365, which offers newer technology, greater flexibility, and operational savings. Microsoft did this in hopes that the University would not make the transition over to Google Apps.
The university plans to move all students and faculty to Office 365 within the next 12 to 18 months. Office 365 was <a href="http://www.winbeta.org/?q=news/microsoft-launches-office-365" target="_blank">launched not too long ago</a> and offers access to Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. According to Microsoft, "Office 365 takes the industry's most recognized set of productivity and collaboration tools and delivers them as a subscription service. With our cloud services, your organization can lower overall costs and deliver the right set of tools for the right users, all with appropriate layers of security and compliance. And, Office 365 includes a financially-backed service level agreement, allowing you to feel confident that you chose the best cloud solution."
"That funding will pay for some consulting and licenses to convert a large percentage of our users from Lotus Notes to Office 365. We will also use that funding to pay for a Microsoft Premier Support agreement covering email and Microsoft Office applications for the entire university," the University said.
Apparently, the University had <a href="http://www.informationweek.com/news/cloud-computing/software/231001007" target="_blank">three choices</a>. Stick with a cloud-based version of IBM Lotus Notes, listen to a convincing argument by Google as to why Google Apps is superior, or listen to Microsoft who argued in favor of its cloud-based Office 365. In the end, school officials agreed that both Google and Microsoft "offered a superior Web-based interface and enhanced capabilities" over their current system, but "Microsoft was able to provide a more competitive pricing structure than Google."
The added bonus of $250,000 makes for a sweeter deal while the University saves about 50% in annual email operating costs (from $1 million to $500,000).
This story proves that Microsoft is willing to pull out all the stops to ensure its product is used over a rivals product. Microsoft is trying to ensure its success by being aggressive in the government, educational, and commercial arena.