Microsoft Sends Windows Live to College

Microsoft is heading to college campuses to promote its Windows Live service in a new way -- by hosting college e-mail accounts. Called Windows Live@edu, 72 colleges worldwide have signed onto the service and discussions are ongoing with almost 200 more.

The e-mail service provides a familiar interface to many students as it is patterned after Hotmail. However, students do not receive a hotmail.com or msn.com e-mail address, as the accounts it carry the domain of their respective school.

The move is intended to promote the Windows Live suite of services, and also establish continuing loyalty. Although the Live services are traditionally advertiser supported, Live@edu accounts would not show ads to users while they are in school. Microsoft does, however, reserve the right to turn on the ads after they graduate.

The Redmond company believes that catching the students early on will turn them into life-long users of Windows Live. They would likely create a Windows Live Messenger account, start a blog and organize their favorites under this e-mail account -- especially if they plan to continue using it, Microsoft says.

Google recently announced a similar program for its Gmail service, serving students of San Jose City College in California. Microsoft touts its service as better, as it provides much more control to the IT administrator than Google's option.

Also, the infrastructure to provide the Live@edu is already present, which means there is little cost associated in offering it.

But although there has been a rapid uptake of the service, the company says it still meets resistance and skepticism. In return, Microsoft has been assuring education institutions that its only motivation is to get students using Windows Live, promising there are no ulterior plans.

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