Microsoft is offering students free access to Office 365 when universities and schools purchase licences for teachers and staff.
Under Microsoft's student advantage program, schools and universities that purchase licences for Office Professional Plus or ProPlus can provide Office 365 ProPlus to their students at no additional cost.
Loryant Strant, managing director of Microsoft partner Paradyne, based in Melbourne, said the move will open new streams of revenue for Office 365 partners.
"This will make extra revenue for us because it allows us to be more engaged in the school's licensing discussion," he told CRN.
"It opens up new opportunities for us in professional services. We can help [schools and universities] deploy Office software, we can do more consulting and it helps the adoption of the latest technologies."
Strant expects Microsoft will sell less licenses as a result of the program, but said the software giant would benefit overall by locking students into the Microsoft ecosystem and therefore fending off Google's advances.
"That's the whole thing between these tech giants; it is the battle of the ecosystems. Get the students in and get them young and get them using the technology so by the time they leave school they can't live without it."
Microsoft already has a similar offering that benefits students. Under the company's Office 365 for Education A2 tier, students have access to cloud versions of SharePoint, Lync and Exchange at no cost if their school has paid for faculty and staff licences.
The student advantage program offers access to Microsoft's more common Office applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Microsoft launched its student advantage offer in Australia on 1 December. The company claims 35,000 academic institutions worldwide are positioned to benefit from the student advantage program.