University of Pennsylvania Selects Windows Live Mail over GMail?

WOW! I just came across this news release from the Office of University Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Below is a quick excerpt:

The University of Pennsylvania has partnered with Microsoft to enhance the communications platform it offers to many of its students.

Beginning in the fall semester, students in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School will have the option of using a customized version of Windows Live called Penn Live to access e-mail and a full suite of online communications services.

Penn Live will host student e-mail accounts, including support for both mobile and offline access. The arrangement with Microsoft will provide students with 2 gigabytes of storage space. Other features include calendaring and contact management; Windows Live Messenger instant messaging and file sharing; Windows Live Spaces for personal web publishing, blogging and photo sharing; and FolderShare, a private peer-to-peer network that allows users to synchronize files between multiple devices and share files with other student users.

Obviously I’m adding spice to the news release, but what immediately jumps to mind is did UPenn just select Windows Live Mail over Gmail when Google has just been pushing out features and improvements to their existing offering. Google Docs will soon have a presentation component, the integration of Google Talk within the mail interface and having POP access to all your mail are just some small but very nice features. One can’t even start to sing praises of the use of labels for organization of mail and the excellent calendar component. Yet with all these features, a committee of students and administration selected Windows Live Mail over Gmail. Impressive! Good job Microsoft and especially with the Ivy League win.

The other part of the press release also gives you some insight on what to expect from Microsoft in the next few months – the relaunch of FolderShare or Windows Live Drive?