Abilene Christian University has adopted Google Apps and will pair them with free
iPhones for students and faculty next fall.
When Abilene Christian University CIO
Kevin Roberts learned his e-mail administrator was leaving in 2006, he nearly
He took a breath and considered his options, he said. Rather than manage the
school's existing Sun Java System Messaging Servers, Sun Java System Calendar
Servers and "rogue" Microsoft Exchange servers himself or hire a new
admin, Roberts said he went with Google Apps Education Edition in 2007.
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After weighing the options-Google, Microsoft Live, Exchange, and Sun
Microsystems' offerings-Roberts said it became clear the SAAS (software as a
service) path was the route he wanted to take to save his school time and
money. In moving to Google Apps, Roberts was able to fill the e-mail admin hole
with a new developer position.
He said he also figures he's saving the school at least $100,000 a year in
salaries, licensing fees, storage and server maintenance costs.
"It's been a great decision for us," Roberts told eWEEK, noting
that 80 percent of the school's 5,000-plus students opted to use opted
to use Google Apps fon "G-Day," April 11, 2007,
which was when
Roberts flipped the switch on Google Apps.
Next fall, it could get even better. ACU
will offer its faculty and about 900 incoming freshmen
free Apple iPhones
or Apple iPod Touches. ACU will foot the iPhone and service bill for its
teachers, while students who choose the iPhone will have to pay for their
service plans through AT&T.
The iPhone offer is a great contract for Apple, but it could prove to be
just as good for Google. The search vendor currently optimizes several
applications, including search, Gmail and YouTube, for the iPhone.
Take into account that more than 6,000 students and faculty have been using
Google Apps for more than a year and Google with minimal effort will be able to
acclimate thousands of people to its Apps on the iPhone.
"A smart phone that doesn't do e-mail or calendaring is pretty much a
useless device," Roberts said. "The fact that the iPhone is already
optimized for Google is a huge win for us."