Microsoft looks to push Office to students

Written by Pranay Parab | Updated: Aug 12 2013, 19:25pm hrs
Microsoft has announced a major push into the countrys education sector with Office 365 for university. Microsoft is the most popular productivity software suite across the world and Office is one of the products that recently moved to a cloud-based subscription model.

While there are variants of Office 365 for institutions, enterprises and other commercial players, this version is targeted at those pursuing higher education. There are 200 million students in India in the age group of 15 to 23 years. This is a big market for Microsoft and we are looking to move the focus from products to learning. The IT departments at most universities often worry only about hardware procurement. We have a software solution that works across screen sizes, devices and the cloud, Tarun Malik, Microsoft Indias director of product management and strategy, said.

Although the market is big, it remains largely untapped in India. Microsoft says it has around 22 million Office 365 subscribers, of which around 10-15 million are in India. It hopes to draw students to the university subscription with attractive pricingjust R4,199 for a four-year licence. This includes the complete set of Office applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access) that work across two PCs or Macs, Office on Demand and 27 GB of cloud storage on SkyDrive. This subscription is valid for use on Windows Phones, Android smartphones and iPhones.

Office on Demand is a nifty feature that lets you download certain office applications to any Windows computer. Suppose a user leaves his/her laptop at home and uses a friends laptop that does not have Microsoft Office, he/she can download Office apps to that computer and use them. Once he/she has finished using Office on that computer, all apps will automatically be deleted. This installation does not count towards the two PC/Mac limit on every subscription.

To Microsofts credit, the pricing is on par with the US ($80). The price of this product works out to just R87 per month. This value proposition will appeal to a large audience and we are bullish about this product, Malik said. Standard Office 365 subscriptions range from $6 to $22 (R360 to R1,250) per month.

The university subscription can be bought online at, where the company has set up an eligibility and verification process ( verify) before payment. A final-year student can purchase this subscription. It will be valid for four years from the date of purchase. Also, if a student buys it at the undergraduate level and goes on to do a PhD, he can keep renewing the subscription every four years as long as he is a student, Malik said.

The subscription is a single-user licence and all updates are free during the four-year period. Microsoft has a list of universities on the website and students can submit details for verification there. If a university or college is not mentioned on the Microsoft site, there is a separate form, which will be verified within 24 hours, according to Malik.

Office 365 University is in a class by itself and university students will love the capabilities of new Office, Ramkumar Pichai, GMMicrosoft Office Division, Microsoft India, said .The special pricing for students will help to be successful in the fast-paced campus environment, making them future ready as they join the workforce of tomorrow.