Microsoft Giving Away Visual Studio, SQL 2005, Expression to College Students

Microsoft Corp. to give away Visual Studio 2005 and 2008, SQL Server 2005, Windows Server Standard and other software to college students worldwide.

This morning, Microsoft Corp. announced that it will be giving away Visual Studio 2005 and 2008, SQL Server 2005, Windows Server Standard Edition, XNA Game Studio 2.0, and its Expression suite of products to college students worldwide -- and eventually to high school students.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced the program, called DreamSpark, today on the company's Channel 8 site. The downloads will be available on the site here.

Currently, only 11 countries are eligible -- including the U.S., Canada, China and several European countries -- but Microsoft said it will be expanding the program to many more countries by the third quarter of this year. To determine eligibility for the free software, "the system is linked to schools and organizations around the world that can confirm student status."

"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 in a prepared announcement about the program. "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."

As for why the company chose the software it did for the program, Joe Wilson, Microsoft's Senior Director of Academic Initiatives, commented in a released statement: "We hand-picked the products that make up DreamSpark with the current and future development of the IT industry in mind; so by design, the offering straddles three of the industry's highest growth segments: development, design and gaming."

"The Expression Studio suite helps students bring their creative visions to life with new design concepts and more impactful digital content," he continued.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including,, and, among others.

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Sep 1, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous

Very amazing site
Thanks, webmaster.

Wed, Feb 20, 2008 Nichole California

I'm thrilled about this giveaway. As a mature developer and student I can see the value in what getting these products. Crybabies stand aside and let those of us who accept the reality of "increasing knowledge" get a piece of this value! Thanks Mr. Gates!

Wed, Feb 20, 2008 Shane Tennessee

I'd call it, "The first hit is free" "Once your addicted, we'll charge you through the nose for it.

Tue, Feb 19, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous

heh, this is just a way for MS to circumvent identity protections put in place by the Uni's and colleges to protect students from DRM sharks such as the RIAA and their willing partners in racketeering - MS

Tue, Feb 19, 2008 anonymous

Great, that's all we need is to spread the tools then come out with a new .NET framework every month. Sometimes pace can overburden society and especially people trying to live life outside of work. .NET is great...but do we need now an excuse to arm younger generation who will just drive for even quicker cycles in new frameworks? It's already crazy as it is now and on the other extreme compared to what it was years ago which was too slow. Now it's out of control. Sometimes we need to sit back and digest what we have. Now we have LINQ, .NET 3.5, what's next? Sometimes Microsoft and Java need to chill on the iterations

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