Microsoft is hoping to encourage businesses of the future onto Office 365 by luring in today's students with free licences.
From 1 December, Microsoft is offering any academic institution which licenses Office to staff the ability to provide its Office 365 ProPlus suite for free as part of its Student Advantage scheme.
"Today's students are tomorrow's workforce," the vendor's vice president for worldwide education Anthony Salcito said. "Given the fact that Office products are clearly playing an increasingly important role in the workplace, we want to ensure that students throughout the world have access to the most up-to-date version of full Office on any device – PC, tablet or mobile.
"And programmes like Student Advantage can give them just that – the advantage they need to be workforce-ready, and to fulfil their potential as our future leaders."
Microsoft has been keen to push its cloud-based version of Office, and earlier this year boasted that its Home Premium version had surpassed more than one million subscribers and added in August that Office 365's uptime rate hit the 99.97 per cent mark.
Microsoft reseller Bechtle's software manager Richard Gibbons said he thinks Student Advantage will drive further sales through the channel.
"More schools will be likely to look at Office 365 now, which will mean more opportunities for A3 licence sales [a midrange-priced plan] and also implementation services," he said.
"Long term for Microsoft, getting students used to not just Office, but the delivery method of Office 365, will be a big benefit for [it] in the future."
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