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Microsoft DreamSpark


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The Microsoft DreamSpark student program (http://channel8.msdn.com) makes available, at no charge, a broad range of development and design software for download. The program is now available to more than 35 million college students in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Broad global coverage, as well as an expansion of the program to high school students around the world, potentially reaching up to 1 billion students worldwide, will continue throughout the next year.

"We want to do everything we can to equip a new generation of technology leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to harness the magic of software to improve lives, solve problems and catalyze economic growth,” Gates said. “Microsoft DreamSpark provides professional-level tools that we hope will inspire students to explore the power of software and encourage them to forge the next wave of software-driven breakthroughs." - Bill Gates

Priming the Talent Pipeline

Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all students whose studies touch on technology, design, math, science and engineering. Students of today are more technical in their everyday lives than ever — representing both their personal interests and what is expected of them when they arrive in the workplace for the first time. The following cutting-edge software will be available to empower students to unlock their ingenuity by building critical skills:

  1. Microsoft developer tools. Visual Studio is the Swiss Army knife of computer programming. These professional-grade products provide a security-enhanced and reliable environment, enabling students to program everything from a cell phone to a robot or to create their own Web page. Students will also be able to invent compelling new gaming content and make their dream game a reality by porting their creations to their Xbox 360 console.

  2. Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition

  3. Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition

  4. XNA Game Studio 2.0

  5. 12-month free Academic membership in the XNA Creators Club

  6. Microsoft designer tools. This ultra-versatile suite of tools will enable students to vividly bring their creative visions to life in vibrant new Web site designs and more effective digital content, including animation, imagery and photography.

  7. Expression Studio, including
    • Expression Web
    • Expression Blend
    • Expression Design
    • Expression Media

    [*]Microsoft platform resources. The foundation for development and design platforms, these products deliver a security-enhanced, reliable and manageable environment for students to more quickly turn ideas into reality.

    [*]SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition

    [*]Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition with Service Pack 2

"The opportunity, as a student, to use the same professional tools that I can expect to use after I graduate gives me a real head start in my career," said Nathan Murith, a computer science student at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who tested the service in a pilot before today’s launch. “I’m already getting more out of my studies, applying my learning to try out new ideas, and gaining new insights into careers in software design and development.”

Demand for Software Expertise in All Marketplaces and Economies

Technological innovation is a critical economic growth engine and is expected to generate 7.1 million new jobs in the global economy over the next four years, according to a study of the economic impact of IT across 82 countries and regions carried out in 2007 by IDC and commissioned by Microsoft. The same study found that the IT employment base will grow to 42.5 million people, with the sharpest growth occurring in developing nations.

“Technology is the ignition key for job growth, economic development and creating sustainable solutions to global problems,” said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. “The emerging economies are forecast to drive over 25 percent of the new IT jobs over the next four years. These jobs will be driven by an evolving, highly skilled labor force. Tech skills are key to employability.”


In the next six months, the company expects to expand Microsoft DreamSpark to college students in Australia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Japan, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and many more countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe, as well as to high school students by the third quarter of 2008. Students should check http://channel8.msdn.com for regularly posted updates to see when Microsoft DreamSpark will be available to them.

Microsoft is working with academic institutions, governments and student organizations around the world, such as the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) Association, to ensure the necessary local student identity-verification technology infrastructure exists to bring Microsoft DreamSpark to all students in markets around the world. The program will be expanded as fast as this community-based effort with government and organizations can be connected at a local level in new countries.


This is an excellent program and IT students can benefit from this. I know we have some members who are still in school that can definitely enjoy this software.

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Microsoft is giving away free-of-charge Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, etc and other stuff.

"The first one is always free..." refers to whatever Microsoft gives students for free. In this case Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, XNA Game Studio 2.0, Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition with Service Pack 2, etc.

"The first one is always free..." refers to the way drugs are marketed to kids. The drug dealer give you some free drugs (first sample is always free), then you get hooked, and then he gets the cash from you.

This is basically the same thing. Microsoft are getting students accustomed to their software (which as students they get for free), then when they graduate and move into the job market, they will requesting to use the same tools they know, and that is where Microsoft starts to get money...

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Its true.

It's all business.

You honestly believed that Microsoft felt bad for the poor students and actually unselfishly wanted to help out students?

Microsoft are also giving away free-of-charge or selling Windows and Office in third-world countries for like $3 a license. Its to hinder adoption of Linux.

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Considering Windows is the primary OS in the mainstream world it would be that Microsoft is helping to further the education of students in preparation for most real world uses.

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I agree that it is to hinder Linux.

But not just Linux, any free or open source software.

MS are fighting back, they are starting to lose out to others, and think it is a good move to get students back on side, after all students are the future in computing.

So by offering students free software, they are hoping that they will buy their products that they have learned with rather than going down the free road.

It can only be a good thing for everyone hopefully.

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Considering Windows is the primary OS in the mainstream world it would be that Microsoft is helping to further the education of students in preparation for most real world uses.

Some of those poor countries do not have much of an IT industry yet.

They have the chance to start one from scratch, get everyone in the country (and neighbor countries) to use free open source software.

This would give them great long-time advantages. Being free from proprietary software.

Not having todo the same mistakes we did. Walking into a proprietary software trap.

Now this is something that scares Microsoft, thats why they're working hard to prevent Linux adoption.

It is to ensure that when the IT industry in those countries mature, they will be future Microsoft customers.

It is not an altruistic move to help people.

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