It gives me great pleasure in announcing that we have now completed the Live@edu Upgrade program to Office 365. In the course of just a year, we have upgraded over 9 Million users, equating to 5000 customers; this has been no small feat by our engineering teams, nor our customers and a little celebration is definitely in order.
Looking back over the road map for Live@edu you can see that Microsoft has always invested heavily in Education, ensuring that the services available to the academic sector are at the forefront of innovation. Since the outset, Live@edu has proved highly popular and grown rapidly, with institutions joining from all shapes and sizes. And in the past 8 years we have grown our user base from a few handfuls, to over 9 million.
Back in 2005, we set out to create a free cloud service for Education, providing institutions with free cloud hosted email, initially this was built on Hotmail and formed the primary base for what was then, MSN University. As the service was rolled out and trialled we gathered feedback asking for more functionality. We met these suggestions and added SkyDrive and Windows Live Messenger into the mix, providing a robust and free service that allowed students to store their data in the cloud and communicate with each other by IM and email.
In 2011 we launched Office 365, the new cloud service offering enterprise grade email, collaboration and IM services on SharePoint Online, Lync Online and Exchange Online; again free for Education and designed to eventually take the place of Live@edu. The beginning of this upgrade was announced in March 2012 and began formally as a program in July. Today marks the end of this upgrade program, meaning the closing of Live@edu in the UK.
I’d like to thank all of our customers for their enthusiasm and support; it has been an exciting and fascinating journey. In addition many of you will have completed our Service Upgrade, meaning you are on the latest version of Office 365 with access to all the benefits like SkyDrive Pro, which now has 25GB of online storage per user! Education is at the forefront of innovation with Microsoft and a crowning jewel in our Online Services portfolio; and just as we continue to listen and process your feedback, we will continue to add to and grow our service.