Microsoft Announces Heavily Discounted Office 365 University Edition For Students, $80 For 4 Years

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Over 22 million students currently use Microsoft’s Office 365 for Education online services, but today, the company is also announcing a new version of Office 365 for students whose schools don’t use Microsoft’s online productivity suite. Office 365 University will cost just $79.99 for a four-year subscription and will give students access to all the standard Office products, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.

The University edition will also be available to faculty and staff. Students who need more than 4 years of access can renew once for a total of eight years of access (it’s unclear if faculty will be able to renew more than once).

Office 365 University will be available in the first quarter of 2013. As Microsoft notes, however, eligible students can now “buy Office University 2010 or Office University for Mac 2011 and receive a free subscription to Office 365 University when it becomes available.”

Office 365 University will also include all of the standard Office 365 subscription features, including 20 GB of extra SkyDrive storage (for a total of 27 GB), 60 minutes of free international Skype calls. While the Office 365 Home Premium edition can be installed on up to 5 computers, the University edition is limited to two computers (PC or Mac).

It’s no surprise that Microsoft is putting the emphasis on subscriptions with this new service. While Microsoft will continue to offer shrink-wrapped and downloadable versions of its Office suite, the company’s real focus seems to be on the Office 365 subscription service (and Office as a ‘service’ in general). Microsoft’s basic Home Premium subscription for Office 365, it is worth noting, costs about $100 per year.