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September, 2007 - FE blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The FE Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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September, 2007

  • FE blog

    It's arrived - Office Ultimate 2007 for Students - for £38.95!



    We have been working on this for a while, and it has finally arrived. Yesterday we announced the availability of Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for UK Higher Education students, as a download, for £38.95.

    The headline summary is:

    It's a time-limited offer available to students with a .ac.uk email address as a digital download, containing the full Ultimate package.

    This also means that some colleges, who provide .ac.uk email addresses for their students, will also qualify! And, if you don't provide email addresses currently, drop Sarah Finch in our FE team a call (0118 909 4304) to talk about Windows Live @ Edu - a free, hosted email service for students.

    This is a pilot in a limited number of countries - UK, US, Canada, Spain, Italy and France - and it's good news that the UK is in the pilot. Most UK students think that Office costs £000's of pounds, and aren't very aware of the lower cost licences that have been available (for example, under the Select licence), so this makes it easier for them to buy a legitimate copy easily and cost-effectively.

    We're not going to spend lots of money advertising this - for one thing, it is only available to students with a .ac.uk email address, and so putting adverts all over the media isn't going to work. But we will be doing some on-campus promotions at some universities, using email to students, and many universities have already asked for posters and emails to send to their own students.

    If students in your college have .ac.uk email addresses, and you'd like to get some posters, flyers, or want to check what you can email to your students, drop a line to Sarah Finch in our FE team

    All of the details are on the offer's website: http://www.theultimatesteal.co.uk/?cid=edublog

    ps Have you got questions? Add them as a comment, and then I'll answer them here - hopefully everyone else will benefit from the answer too!

    pps You need to login to add a comment (to avoid comment-spam

  • FE blog

    Product launch invitation: Office Communications Server 2007


    Here's another launch that might be of interest to you. This one is for our Office Communications Server 2007, which shifts the convergence of phone, email, fax, IM, web conferencing and voice over IP.  You will have seen how different mechanisms of communication are multiplying - in both our personal and professional lives - and this product launch takes a step forward in finding ways to integrate these mechanisms and helping individuals to manage their communications more flexibly. As an example, I'm working from home today, but you wouldn't know it - if you call me on my office number, your call will be automatically rerouted to my mobile number or my IP phone on my PC. In fact, it is so seamless that sometimes, when I'm unavailable, people ring my office number and leave me a message - and then call my mobile with the same message. They hadn't realised that their first call had been rerouted to the same device - and I end up with two identical messages.

    The agenda provides a good look at the general direction of unified communications, and ways of delivering Voice Over IP (VOIP), provide a single identity system, and improve universal communications security. There are also two great customer references, Tayside Fire and Rescue (watch their video) & United Bristol Health Care Trust, both of whom will be presenting on the day.

    The Event takes place on the 17th of October in London and there are two events, a whole day event for Technical Decision Makers, and a shorter 'breakfast briefing' for Business Decision Makers:

    Business Decision Maker information and registration

    Technical Decision Maker information and registration 

    Not sure which one to attend? If you understand this:

    "Deliver VoIP without needing to rip and replace your existing BX and telecommunications infrastructure. OCS 2007 works with legacy PBXs and connects to the PSTN through an IP/PBX gateway."

    then you should probably go to the Technical one!

     For further details of Office Communications Server 2007

  • FE blog

    The Ultimate Steal - FE Student Criteria



    You may recall that the criteria for students purchasing the Ultimate Steal promotion was that they should have a .ac.uk email address, and a 1/2 course load. Although that made a lot of sense in some countries, in the UK we have a more complex model of Further and Higher Education than some, so we've worked on a new definition, which encompasses everybody that we think should be eligible.

    In a nutshell, if you're a Further Education student, and have scheduled contact time for your course of 15 hours or more, then you qualify and you can order Office Ultimate 2007 at £38.95.

    In the UK this promotion is open to both higher and further education students, although we want to ensure that it is individuals who spend the majority of their time on academic studies that use this offer, rather than individuals who are primarily full-time employees and study part-time (e.g. by attending a weekly evening class).  That's why the extra restriction exists. Hopefully this makes sense to you too!

    The specific criteria, now on the website is:


  • FE blog

    Product launch invitation: PerformancePoint Server 2007


    There are a number of product launch events coming up in the next few months. They may not be as high profile as the two "big" ones - Halo 3 this week and Windows Server 2008 next year - but in terms of more immediate value to you, then the Performance Point Server 2007 launch, in two weeks' time should be of interest.

    There's an ugly term, Business Intelligence (or BI), used to describe the ability to draw together different strands of information from around an institution, and present and analyse it in real-time. It means, in a college for example, the capability to create a single point where you can see how student recruitment and retention activities are working, alongside this month's attendance rates, and putting that information alongside your key financial trends, and employer engagement figures.

    Although the launch event is aimed at the commercial sector, this struck me as a good opportunity for senior managers in colleges too to get an insight into both the product and its uses to create information from data, carry out organisational analyses and produce scorecards. In addition to a keynote from Robert Kaplan, there's also presentations from businesses that use Business Intelligence systems to drive more informed decision making, such as Unilever.

    The Launch takes place on the 16th of October in London, aimed at a senior managers, and will include a presentation from Professor Robert Kaplan

    For further details of the launch event, or to register

     For further details of PerformancePoint Server 2007

  • FE blog

    Would You Like To Know Even More About Unified Communications?


    Exchange Tour Unplugged 2007

    24th October - 5th November 2007
    Reading, London, Sheffield, Manchester, Maidenhead, Warwickshire & Glasgow


    More dates have just been announced, covering much more of the country.

    This is your opportunity to get the inside scoop on Exchange Server 2007,  Office Communications Server 2007 and the rest of the Unified Communications platform.

    Microsoft UK’s Unified Communications (UC) specialists will all be there to guide you through Exchange Server 2007, Office Communications Server 2007,  Mobility and the rest of the Unified Communications stack. You’ll learn, first-hand, how Exchange 2007 has changed in response to customer feedback,  how to migrate from your existing solution to a unified communications solution and how Office Communications Server 2007 can help your users communicate more effectively.

    Sessions will include:

    • Exchange Server 2007 including SP1, an architectural overview and details on how it integrates into the rest of the UC suite.
    • Real world experience from a customer.
    • How to migrate from your existing platform to a new UC platform.  It’s not just ‘move mailbox’.  This section will cover other essential parts of migration including storage, public folders and hardware.
    • How email and voicemail are coming together in Exchange 2007 in Unified Messaging. Also covered in this section is how Outlook Voice Access give can give you another way in which to interact with your inbox.
    • Mobility and how Windows Mobile,  Exchange 2007 and Office Communications Server 2007 provide secure and scalable communications such as email, calendaring, presence and IM across an array of mobile devices.
    • Office Communications Server 2007. Communication can be seen, typed or heard.  Hear about the latest entrant into the Unified Communications stack and how it will change the way in which people will communicate forever.

    This is a brilliant opportunity to hear about the technologies that make up the Unified Communications stack and shouldn’t be missed.

    Register to attend one of these free events

  • FE blog

    Thin Client, Rich Client or hybrid?


    My colleague Michael Royster, in Microsoft Consulting Services, has just finished a briefing document on the approaches available to implementation, addressing the questions about thin client versus rich client, and provides excellent advice and insight into how you can plan for the most appropriate blend. The title, "Application Deployment Architectures - The 'Rich' versus 'Thin' debate and beyond" is a pretty good description of what it is all about, but to clarify a little more, here's a couple of extracts from the summary:

    "Today, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. Different applications have different characteristics which may make them more suited to the traditional rich client deployment model, while others may be more suited to a server based computing model. Many organisations are beginning to deploy a hybrid of traditional rich client with a server based computing model (and in some cases, application virtualisation where this is appropriate).

    The impact on the productivity of the end users or their learning experience must be central to the decision of an application deployment strategy. Graphics and media have become more widely used and the Web has led people to expect easy interaction with software. These rich graphical multi-media applications are particularly suited to the traditional rich client deployment model. Some industry analysts are now predicting that the pendulum is now moving again towards the rich client.

    Whether the appropriate deployment model is rich client, server based (thin client), or application streaming, Microsoft has a breadth of integrated products across the spectrum of deployment architectures."

    If you want to understand what the different Microsoft solutions are, then this is a really good starting point, with succinct and clear chapters on:

    • Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualisation
    • Microsoft Windows Terminal Services
    • Microsoft SoftGrid for Terminal Services
    • Citrix Presentation Server
    • Windows Embedded Powered Thin Client Devices
    • Blade PC Solutions
    • Windows Vista Enterprise Centralised Desktop Solutions
    • Pure Browser-based Solutions

    And Michael's included UK & International case studies, within and outside of education, of different implementations.

    Download the guide here

  • FE blog

    Windows Vista - after hours technology events


    Our Windows Vista team have just let me know about these events coming up this month and next. If you're a technology enthusiast, these events are designed to help you get an understanding of Windows Vista. It is not designed specifically for education, but I think it will make a great opportunity to see it in action, and listen to and talk with some of the key Microsoft people involved with our operating systems in the UK

    We ran two of these back in May and the response from attendees was incredible (you can view one example here). These events are for technology enthusiasts - you'll be buzzing afterwards! The event covers what's in Windows Vista out of the box and how you can extend it, encompassing: Windows Vista (search, photography, movie maker, DVD maker, back-up and restore, network and sharing centre and more), Windows SideShow, digital picture frames, Home Server, Xbox 360, Media Centre, Windows Live Gaming and Virtual Earth.

    20 September, Manchester

    25 September, Newcastle

    27 September, Falkirk, Scotland

    3 October, London (Sorry, full)

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