My alma mater, the University of Arizona, is strongly considering dumping their current email system and switching to Google Docs for Education.
In addition to mail, students and faculty will get the whole Docs package, collaborative office tools, calendars, a chat system, and personal web sites.
Casap [Google’s rep] said that it does not make sense for universities to provide an e-mail service when something like Google Apps can provide it to universities for free. He also said that the Google supported e-mail could be branded to the university.
So let’s see: the U of A has more than four times the number of students and faculty than the number of staff in our overly-large school district (we don’t provide email for students).
But our administration sees a need to send the Big Monopoly of Redmond a large (LARGE!) annual check for Office and Outlook licenses, on top of the cost of paying for dozens of servers and people to keep the email flowing.
Ok, I know Google Docs doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, not to mention doodads, that are in the BM’s products.
However, the number of people in our system who actually use those very high priced extras could probably fit in a small high school auditorium.