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Texas’ Department of Information Resources has signed a contract with Microsoft to give more than 100,000 employees Office 365, a move that will save the state in IT costs and help it with compliance.

Office 365 is a subscription version of Office that is heavily connected the cloud and Microsoft’s SkyDrive. I reviewed the newest version of Office 365 and found it to be a smart evolution of the software. It addresses mobility, the multidevice lifestyle many professionals live, and connections to the cloud much better than the 2010 version of Office and the previous Office 365.

It looks like Texas’ higher-ups noticed the changes (maybe they read my review) and decided to give Office 365 a shot. The contract to bring more than 100,000 employees on board will be the “largest state-wide deployment of email and collaboration services in the U.S.,” according to Microsoft.

“No other solution provides the rich capabilities of Office 365, including web-conferencing, real-time collaboration, and document and calendar sharing,” said Todd Kimbriel, director of e-government for the Texas Department of Information Resources, in a statement. “Office 365 will increase efficiency and help our agencies better serve the needs of citizens without compromising on security or privacy.”

Microsoft is heavily competing with Google Apps to bring government agencies and colleges into the cloud age. The most persuasive arguments for Office 365 are that the apps are more powerful (especially Excel for spreadsheets) and many people are deeply familiar with how to use Office. But Google’s services are less expensive, and that argument could outweigh all others.

Texas photo via Shutterstock

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