Google sees the adoption of Google Apps at schools and colleges as vital to the growth of the productivity suite; an outlook that Microsoft also seems to emulate as well. The strategy makes sense; not only do educational institutions represent a huge market for Google Apps and other productivity suites, but schools and colleges are where many people get trained, start relying on, and form brand allegiances to productivity apps. Today, New York is the fifth U.S. state to adopt “Google Apps,” joining Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, and Maryland.
The New York Institute of Technology, New York State Teacher Centers, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, the New York State teacher unions and New York State professional organizations, will all offer Google Apps access, training and support to 697 public school districts, as well as all non-public and charter schools, across New York. This deal will give 3.1 million students access to Google Apps for Education-including Gmail, Docs, Sites and Calendar.
Google Apps for Education, which is used by 8 million students, faculty and staff at educational institutions, is steadily catching up to Microsoft's education suite, Live@edu, which has 11 million users.
Google has made it clear that it has major ambitions for Apps as a revenue stream; statewide school deals will only help build out this channel and perhaps eat away at Microsoft's market share.