Microsoft grabs the largest cloud customer ever, AICTE [10,000 Colleges, 7.5 million users]

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is deploying Microsoft Live@edu as one solution amongst many such initiatives with IT majors and Industries, over the next three months to more than 10,000 technical colleges and institutes throughout India. The cloud deployment will expand students’ access to high-quality technical education and collaboration.liveatedu-logo

Live@edu is a free suite of hosted Microsoft services and applications that is intended for educational needs. The service offers email, Microsoft Office Web Apps, instant messaging and storage to AICTE’s more than 7 million students and nearly 500,000 faculty members, for a total reach of 7.5 million users — making AICTE Microsoft’s largest cloud customer ever. With the Microsoft Live ID, the student can sign-in and access multiple Microsoft applications such as Outlook Live, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Spaces, Windows Live SkyDrive, Windows Live Mobile, and others. Universities, colleges, and schools can enroll in the program through a free registration process.

AICTE also plans to deploy Microsoft Office 365 for education when it becomes available later this year, providing access to Microsoft Exchange Online email and calendar, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Lync Online and Microsoft Office Professional as the technical infrastructure to support member colleges and institutes.

The implementation is already underway and is being managed by Microsoft and a set of Live@edu partners. Full deployment is expected to be complete by summer 2012.

Catching them young? Well, Google Apps team needs to revisit their India strategy – while they have been doing a lot of cool contests/events around Google Apps, Microsoft’s Live@edu will become the defacto window of utility for 7.5 million students and frankly, that’s a big deal for Microsoft.

“India is seeing rapid economic activity and growth.  Developing India’s youth and their skills is going to play an important role in the country’s inclusive growth.  The union budget also laid emphasis on skill development and so does the proposed 12th Five Year Plan with a National Policy on Skill development. The PPP model (public-private partnership) is most essential in running and managing training institutions to address the skill gap most efficiently. Microsoft’s commitment to empower students by deploying Microsoft Live@edu for 7.5 million users across the country with AICTE is commendable and a step towards an informed and developing India. I congratulate both AICTE and Microsoft on this significant milestone,” said Mr. Kapil Sibbal, Union Minister for HRD