A university in the US has revealed that it has received $250,000 in "business incentive funds" from Microsoft replace its old email and calendar system with the software giant’s hosted Office 365 suite.
The University of Nebraska (NU) is replacing its 14-year-old Lotus Notes system, citing improved flexibility, operational savings and access to newer technology as the big benefits.
"That funding will pay for some consulting and licenses to convert a large percentage of our users from Lotus Notes to Office 365," NU said in a Q&A posted on its website. "We will also use that funding to pay for a Microsoft Premier Support agreement covering email and Microsoft Office applications for the entire University."
The university said its CIO had looked at offerings from both Google and Microsoft, but that Microsoft was ultimately "able to provide a more competitive pricing structure than Google".
NU estimated that the costs of running its campus-wide email and calendar system, currently $1m, would be reduced by 50% through the Microsoft system.
"There will also be one-time upfront costs associated with migrating current Lotus Notes accounts to a new system, rewriting some applications and providing training, but significant savings will be realised over the long term," the university said.
In a statement, NU’s chief information officer Walter Weir said: “We believe that moving to the cloud environment is the best way to leverage current technology and achieve greater cost savings and better security for our system.”
Microsoft’s UK representatives declined the opportunity to comment.
The company has not been shy about offering businesses cash incentives for switching from its competitors. At Salesforce.com’s user conference in December last year, it offered users of the hosted CRM application a $200 rebate per user for switching to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live.
At the time, a Salesforce.com spokesman said that the offer “marks a new decade of desperation from Microsoft”.