Microsoft India today unveiled DreamSpark – a software giveaway for an estimated 10 million plus qualified students in the country. DreamSpark will provide students 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 program is aligned to Microsoft Unlimited Potential, the company’s global effort to creating sustained social and economic opportunity for everyone.

It was great experience for me too because I saw Mr Bill Gates for the first time. I was happy to see one who discovered Windows Life and today I can proudly say that “I’m alive because I’m PC”. I salute the legend.

Addressing students and academicians at IIT Delhi, Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corp, said, “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. Microsoft DreamSpark provides professional-level tools that we hope will inspire students like you to explore the power of software and encourage you to forge the next wave of software-driven breakthroughs.”

Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all students whose studies touch on technology, design, math, science and engineering; as well as technology hobbyists keen on pursuing a career in the field. Worldwide, several million people use the software suite that will now be available free of charge.

The following cutting-edge software will be available to empower students to unlock their ingenuity by building critical skills:
Microsoft developer tools

1. Visual Studio 2005 Express
2. Visual Studio 2005 Professional
3. Visual Studio 2008 Professional
4. Visual Basic 2008 Express
5. Visual C++ 2008 Express
6. Visual C# 2008 Express
7. Visual Web Developer 2008 Express
8. XNA Game Studio 2.0
9. 12-month free Academic membership in the XNA Creators Club

Microsoft designer tools

10.Expression Studio 2, including

Expression Web
Expression Blend
Expression Design
Expression Media

Microsoft platform resources

11.SQL Server 2008 Developer
12.SQL  Server 2008 Express
13.Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition
14.Virtual PC 2007

Training Resources
15.IT Academy Student Pass

This broad range of professional level software will be available both online on; and in offline format via DVDs distributed by program partners NIIT, Aptech and Hughes Net Fusion Centers. A student merely needs to offer a proof of identity at a branch of these institutes to avail of a DreamSpark DVD. There are 125 NIIT, 175 Aptech, and 200 Hughes Net Fusion Centers participating across the country.

These program partners will also provide technology training on the DreamSpark software tools at a nominal cost; as well as have the option of soft skills training in languages like English and Hindi. Microsoft India is also working with academic institutions, government bodies and student organizations across the country to ensure that all students get a chance to benefit from DreamSpark. The DreamSpark initiative in India is designed to join the dots between software access, which means making training and enablement complement simple access to technology.

DreamSpark will also facilitate student participation and registrations into Microsoft’s annual marquee contest, Imagine Cup, through some of the contest categories like software design, short films and photography. Simple online quizzes on will facilitate knowledge dissemination and understanding of technology issues; and give the winners a chance to augment their skills in these areas. Students from India that qualify for the Imagine Cup 2009 World Finals will get to travel to Egypt. Selected teams will also get the opportunity to get mentored by the Centre for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at IIM, Ahmedabad.

Summing up the landmark initiative, Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman, Microsoft India, said, “Education is a crucial focus area for India – and it is the level of investment we put in education today that will shape the economic development and future of the country. It is imperative that we do everything to endow our new age leaders with state of art technology, and the capability to utilize it”.

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