Curtin University will shift over 190,000 student email accounts to a Microsoft Live@edu hosted system as part of a wider strategy to increase users' reliance on the browser.
The University's chief information officer Peter Nikoletatos told iTnews the institution had piloted Live@edu for up to eight months before committing to the rollout.
Rival Google's Gmail service, used by institutions such as Adelaide University, was also evaluated.
But planned additions to the University's enterprise architecture - including Microsoft Office Communications Server for unified communications - made the Redmond giant front-runner for the project.
Nikoletatos said the University wanted to move away from a traditional desktop environment.
Already, students accessed most of the information they required, including email, through a portal underpinned by TechnologyOne.
"We're moving away from systems per se [and] bringing everyone to the browser as a vehicle to access information," Nikoletatos said.
"We want to give [people] access to information from any location, not limit them to how they can access it."
The Live@edu system provided students with a 10Gb mailbox, integrated calendaring and contact management.
It replaced a Sun iPlanet email system with a 20Mb mailbox limit.
Nikoletatos said student accounts would be migrated to the Live@edu system in several "windows of opportunity".
"We obviously won't migrate accounts while students are working on their final papers or completing exams," he said.
It was expected the migration would be completed by the first semester next year.
Nikoletatos did not believe moving onto Live@edu would result in a large dollar saving for the University.
"But the benefits it gives students [as a collaborative learning resource] is a quantum step up," he said.
The University had an IT staff of around 230 people.