Microsoft wants to be an educational partner and wants to leverage their Office 365 suite as an incentive to do so. They want schools to give up their dependencies on Google branded services and Amazon AWS. In order to appeal to schools budgets Microsoft is giving away free access to Office 365 to students.
Office 365 Education for Students is an Office 365 plan that is available for free to students who attend academic institutions that have purchased Office for faculty and staff available at www.Office.com/GetOffice365. This plan allows students to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access on up to 5 PCs or Macs and Office apps on other mobile devices including Android, iPad, and Windows tablets. The plan also includes 1TB of OneDrive storage, managed by the school, and students can edit and collaborate using Office Online, Yammer, and SharePoint sites.
I think this is a great move for Microsoft. Google may trumpet a copious amount of storage via Google Drive and digital textbook rental solutions but students need productivity. Office is a name known by virtually all students and it carries a name brand recognition. I think its also a compelling offer because it works on Android tablets and iOS devices, so it doesn’t lock you into needing a PC.