In somewhat of a landmark business deal, Google has managed to snare the NSW Department of Educations e-mail services away from Microsoft.  Apparently this is Google’s biggest contract to date in what is said to be a $9.5 million 3-year deal with Google partner SMS Management and Technology, in comparison with the previous $30 million five-year deal with Microsoft partner Unisys.

All Education Department staff and students will now have access to customised Gmail accounts, catering for over 1.3 million users. The US-based information technology analyst Matthew Cain, from Gartner, said it was no secret why Microsoft and Google are “assiduously courting” the .edu community with free email services.

“If the vendors can get students to sign up for email accounts, the hope is they will then use those accounts for life,” Mr Cain said. “Students, alumni, staff and faculty all represent a highly desirable demographic that advertisers will pay top dollar to reach.”

Web-based e-mail clients such as Gmail will only become more commonplace for businesses and organisations of all sizes over the coming years and we encourage anybody (particularly those constantly on the move) to investigate ditching their traditional desktop e-mail client for more flexible and mobile options.

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