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Microsoft changes focus from money to minds

Alex Christie

19 February 2008

Free branded drinks for their employees,
now free software for the future generation. Is it possible that Microsoft is
loosening their money belt? Well..only technically.

The new scheme from Microsoft involves potential developers and programmers
being supplied with software such as Visual Studio and XNA Studio (software
used to develop the Xbox 360) – for free. Students across the world (although initially
limited to 10 countries) can also get free copies of Windows Server and the
developer version of the SQL Server database.

This is all part of future investment called DreamSpark, and the expected
result is pretty obvious. If supplied with tools to express their interest
early enough, students will soon develop skills which they will much prefer to
extend once at University, making them much more employable and making more
profit for Microsoft.

So is it a win-win situation? Microsoft is not going anywhere and can afford
the initial expense of distributing free software, resulting in them reaping
the rewards and profits at a later date. Students will always need subsidising
when it comes to their education, so this scheme is ideal.

Still, at the end of day Microsoft will always be one step behind. Freeware
isn’t exactly new, but perhaps full versioned freeware designed by a
multi-billion company is a pretty nifty trick.



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