Microsoft and San Francisco have agreed and signed a contract which will see cloud services being introduced to 23,000 or so municipal employees. This transition to Microsoft Exchange Online will be done in a continuous phase over the next year, where employees from more than 60 departments and agencies will be involved. On May 18th, city executives held a conference call that suggested the initiative would involve around $1.2 million annually – and that might end up being around $0.72 per month for each user – of course, it has been quoted that the final amount ends up at around $6 per month per user due to the rollout cost, since there will be accounts that the city does not use and will not have to pay for, making it less than the 100% deployed total. 

San Francisco did at first weigh Lotus Notes and Google as possible email providers, but decided to shack up with Microsoft simply because the Redmond software giant offers interoperability with other software, ranging from Windows Azure applications to Office products such as Word and PowerPoint.

According to Jon Walton, CIO of the City and County of San Francisco, “We weren’t making the decision just about email.”

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