Microsoft Bags Massive Cloud Contract In India

Microsoft has secured its biggest ever client when it comes to the cloud, over in India.

The contract the Redmond-based firm has just secured is with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), an Indian government agency. Microsoft will provide the body with its Live@edu service, rolling it out to 10,000 technical colleges throughout the country over the next three months.

Some 7 million Indian students will benefit from Live@edu, a hosted communication and collaboration platform with a number of different arms. It offers Office Web Apps, email, instant messaging and storage to students, as well as to a further half a million faculty members.

Following this service, AICTE also plans to take up Microsoft Office 365 when it's pushed out later in 2012, which again will be available to all member colleges and learning institutions.

In a press statement, Microsoft noted: "The council was also impressed by Microsoft's extensive experience in higher education and ability to deploy a system across geographically distributed locations without adding significantly to the institutions' IT management costs or complexity."

Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education, commented: "Microsoft's commitment to empower students by deploying Microsoft Live@edu to 7.5 million students, teachers and university employees across the country with AICTE is commendable and a step toward an informed and developing India. I congratulate both AICTE and Microsoft on this significant milestone."

Microsoft has traditionally been a peddler of its own locally installed software, but has more recently been forced to adapt to the times in taking to the cloud, and embracing the world of open source. The company has just announced a new division called Microsoft Open Technologies, a subsidiary created to further engage with the world of open standards.