Microsoft announced this week that it’s expanding its Office 365 University free trial to 3 free months, with 3 further months offered to students who share the offer on Facebook. In addition, students can get 20GB of additional SkyDrive storage. The free trial is available to enrolled full- and part-time university and college students, and faculty and staff in accredited institutions.
The caveat? The offer is available only to students and staff with an .edu email address. .edu email addresses are legally available only in US institutions, although some US-based Universities in other countries are eligible for it too. If you own an .edu address, you can enter it on the Office 365 University website to enjoy the offer.
Office 365 University includes access to the latest versions of Microsoft’s cross-platform desktop applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, its Web mail and calendar program, Outlook, and its pictures application, Publisher. After the free trial, the suite is available at a discounted student price of $80 for 4 years.
Students and faculty can download and install the suite of applications to 2 PCs or Macs, and they also get up to 20GB of online storage in Microsoft’s cloud service, SkyDrive. In addition, they receive 60 Skype minutes per month for online phone calls. By offering free access to Office and additional SkyDrive space, Microsoft becomes a fair competitor to Google, and can lock droves of students into using its products, even after they become paid.
To qualify for the 3 months of services, students will need to provide their .edu email address on the OfficeForStudents.com site, where they must also register and sign into a Microsoft account. The account will be used to manage your Office installs and benefits available as part of the subscription. With a registered Microsoft account, you can also get the additional 3 months of access by sharing the trial offer on Facebook. In turn, you will get a link to an extra 3 free months of trial access.
Will 6 free months convince you to purchase Office 365? What do you think of the regional limitations of this offer?