The University of Technology Sydney has picked Microsoft’s Live@EDU as its new hosted student email platform, in a move which further locks Google’s Gmail offering out of Australia’s education sector.
The two competing platforms have been engaged in a running dogfight for the hearts and minds of Australia’s educational institutions over the past several years in Australia. But after a series of skirmishes, it appears that the Microsoft camp is winning.
Microsoft now counts several handfuls of organisations on its win list for Live@EDU — including UTS, Edith Cowan University, WA Central TAFE, Curtin University, the Australian Catholic University, the University of Western Sydney, Flinders University, TAFE SA, the University of NSW and the University of Queensland.
In comparison, Gmail has won fewer victories against the Microsoft juggernaut — counting the University of Adelaide, Macquarie University and Monash University in its camp. Google does, however, hold the largest education email account in Australia — NSW’s Department of Education and Training — with 1.5 million students.
In an interview this morning, UTS deputy director of IT Chris Cahill said the university had established a committee to decide between Live@EDU and Gmail. The committee had been aware that Live@EDU had gradually been winning ground over Gmail, he said.
This fact gave him “comfort” about UTS’ own move, he said, although he noted that the trend wasn’t a factor in the decision, with UTS deciding between the pair on their individual merits.
In the end, the choice between the two options came down to the fact that UTS was already using substantial portions of the Microsoft software stack, said Cahill, and also the support options provided by the software giant were seen as being above those offered by Google — including on-site promotion.
“To be honest, both presented a really good value proposition, there’s very little between them in my mind,” Cahill said. The committee did consider the user interface of the two offerings, but Cahill said he didn’t think there was much difference in the end.
UTS staff and students had previously been using a platform based on Sun’s ONE email system, but staff were migrated onto Microsoft Exchange last year. Asked whether staff could be moved into a similar Microsoft cloud email environment such as its Business Productivity Online Suite eventually, Cahill said “anything’s possible”, but such a switch wasn’t on the immediate agenda.
Google’s rival Gmail solution is likely to receive a deal of attention next week, when the search giant is holding a press event in Sydney to disclose two new additions to its list of organisations which have adopted its offering and “gone Google”. The briefing will be led by Amit Singh, the company’s vice president of international sales and operations for its enterprise division.