If you can't beat 'em, bribe 'em. That seems to be the angle Microsoft's taking with Office 365, its cloud-based answer to Google Docs. Usually, when an organization wants to adopt new software on a large scale, it's required to pay for stuff like licensing fees and support. Microsoft's turned that model on its head. In a move to drum up more Office 365 support, it's actually giving the University of Nebraska $250,000 in incentives to transition over to the service.
The university formerly relied on IBM's Lotus Notes, but they thought the 15 year old software was starting to show its age, so the school began shopping around for alternatives. Both Google and IBM courted the university before Microsoft dropped its bank-breaking offer. Channelnomics, citing an InformationWeek report, said that incentives "cover the costs of consulting and integration services for migrating from the legacy Lotus Notes to Office 365 for email and calendar." BetaNews says the figure also includes the cost of purchasing the new software.
Microsoft offered the money via its somewhat shadowy and rarely talked about Business Incentive Funds program, which was created to sweeten the Microsoft pot for key accounts. Microsoft's obviously hoping that the renewals down the road surpass the cost of the incentives and set-up costs. The University of Nebraska expects the switch to save them around $500,000 a year and expects to roll out Office 365 within the next year and a half.