Michael Desmond, founding editor of Redmond Developer News and Desmond
File blogger, is on vacation. Filling in for him today is Kathleen Richards,
senior editor of RDN. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capturing the hearts and minds of today's youth, as Apple Inc. has so aptly
discovered, can literally make your brand sing.
Microsoft also wants the youth vote. On Monday, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates
started his college tour by stumping at Stanford University, of all places --
the alma mater of his nemeses, the Google guys. During his
talk, Gates announced a new Microsoft program aimed at giving free
professional dev tools to college students. The idea is to spark innovation
and prepare students for a future in the IT workforce. Called Microsoft DreamSpark,
the program is launching this week in 11 countries: Belgium, China, Finland,
France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.
Students at accredited colleges and universities can use their Windows Live
ID to log in to the DreamSpark
site, verify their student status and download free copies of Visual Studio
2008 Professional Edition, Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition, Expression
Studio, XNA 2.0 Game Studio, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition and SQL Server
2005. Each tool is available with a single license, free of charge for non-commercial
use. The program is expected to include high school students later this year.
So what's the catch, you ask? And why aren't Eastern Europe, India or Japan
on that list? Microsoft has a plan in place to make DreamSpark a global reality
in the next year or so (although India isn't among its targets to date). To
make this happen, the company is working with academic institutions, government
agencies and educational organizations around the world.
As for the catch... The educational providers serve as verification sources of a student's digital
ID and current enrollment status. Microsoft says that it's not requiring
schools to provide any personal information about students. Students will, however,
be required to download Silverlight "to give you the best possible user
experience," according to the MSDN DreamSpark Web site. Right!
If this sounds too good be true, we'll have to wait and see. Free developer
tools are already out there for the taking from SourceForge.net, Google and
elsewhere. What could be wrong with having access to free developer, designer
and gamer tools? As one Channel
8 poster proclaimed, "Yahoo!!!" --Kathleen Richards
Posted on 02/21/2008 at 1:15 PM