Microsoft Gives Students Access to Technical Software at No Charge to Inspire Success and Make a Difference

    DreamSpark offers millions of students access to professional-grade
    software developer and designer tools.

    PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 19 /CNW/ -- Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates
today will unveil a software giveaway that will ultimately provide millions of
college and high school students around the world with access to the latest
Microsoft developer and designer tools at no charge to unlock their creative
potential and set them on the path to academic and career success.
    The Microsoft DreamSpark student program ( 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. Gates will share details with students and faculty at Stanford
University as part of a U.S. and Canada college tour that kicks off today.
    "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."
    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
    -- 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.
        -- Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
        -- Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
        -- XNA Game Studio 2.0
        -- 12-month free Academic membership in the XNA Creators Club

    -- 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.
        -- 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
        -- SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
        -- Windows Server, Standard Edition
    "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
    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
    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 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.
    Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq:   MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their
full potential.

For further information:

For further information: pr.mspx./ /CONTACT: Rapid Response Team,
Waggener  Edstrom Worldwide, +1-503-443-7070,, for
Microsoft  Corp.

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