(Photo : Creative Commons/Erik Derr)
Microsoft launched a two-day promotion today, aimed at introducing the college community to Office 365, its subscription-based service that allows ongoing access to the company's slate of home and office-use software programs.
The deal is the first trial offered for Office 365 University, a four-year plan that lets eligible university and college students, faculty and staff install Office 2013 on up to two PCs and Macs, and then Office Mobile Apps on two smartphones running Windows Phone 7.5 or later.
Like Us on Facebook
Microsoft said the trial offers college students a chance to use the subscription service three months for free - and three months more if they share information about the trial with others via Facebook .
Market watchers say Microsoft's new focus on the college set is part of a wider effort to ward off market advances by Google. The Seattle area-based software megaton introduced the 365 Office promotion along with an ad campaign that features actress Aubrey Plaza, of the television series "Parks and Recreation."
Office 365 University usually sells for $79.99 for a four-year subscription, which includes running Office programs on up to two PCs or Macs.
According to a set of frequently asked questions posted by Microsoft:
- The Office 365 University promotion is part of Microsoft's expansion of Office subscriptions to the consumer market, offering full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Office programs on a subscription basis, aas opposed to a one-time license, which has been Microsoft's standard distribution method.
- Along with the three months, students receive an additional 20GB of storage space on SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud-based service, atop the usual 7GB all customers are allotted.
- The three-month trial is triple the length of a similar try-before-you-buy that Microsoft offers for Office 365 Home Premium.
- Microsoft will shut off the promotional spigot at 11:59 p.m. PT Tuesday, March 12, or "while supplies last." Since there are no physical goods involved -- Office 365 delivers copies of Office 2013 via download -- the latter implies Microsoft has set a cap on the number of allowed trials.
- Like Office 365 Home Premium, the University plan cannot be used for commercial purposes. It includes Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word on Windows; and Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word on OS X.
- As with any Office 365 plan, if the student decides not to convert the University trial into a paying subscription, the Office 2013 applications revert to a limited-function mode -- existing documents can be viewed and printed, but new ones cannot be created and ones already generated cannot be edited -- and the SkyDrive storage space slips back to 7GB.