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October 27, 2009
Microsoft is using a classic “free” strategy to engage and train the next-generation IT channel. As part of the company’s DreamSpark program, college and high school students can get Microsoft software for free — including the new Windows Server 2008 R2. Here’s some quick info about the strategy.
On Microsoft’s colorful site, all you have to do is sign in, verify you’re really a student with a national student ID card, and the rest is easy. Downloads come in an ISO format for burning to DVD or CD. Windows 7 isn’t on the short list of free software, but the XNA Game Design Studio is and so is Sever 2008 R2. The reason for all this free stuff? Here’s Microsoft’s pitch:
DreamSpark is simple; it’s all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools
at no charge so you can chase your dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology – or just
get a head start on your career.
It’s nice to see Microsoft is looking to give students an edge, especially college computer-science students who might not have the money to get at expensive programming suites. But it begs the question: Why can’t they give Windows away for free? Surely it’d prove more functional. If Microsoft swapped the offering: that is, offered discounts on the high-level software and made Office and Windows free — wouldn’t that mean more student adoption?
Perhaps there’s the question of profitability, but it’s food for thought. What good is all that fancy software if you don’t have the latest operating system to run it properly?
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