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Microsoft chucks bargain bin at world's youth

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How does Microsoft tempt students into its development tools bandwagon? By parking it outside the school yard and promising free love and software to the tiny tots.

The Redmond giant is teaming up with industry standards body the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to give its student members gratis access to Microsoft development software, training, and job opportunities.

Microsoft said the goal of the giveaway is to boost the number of students engaged in technical pursuits as well as improving society through the use of technology. In other words: to seed the market with Microsoft software. It's also an opportunity for Microsoft to promote its annual Imagine Cup technology competition for fledgling developers.

IEEE student members will be granted access to the MSDN Academic Alliance service, which is normally available only though educational institutions, Microsoft said.

Members are granted one license per year to Microsoft software that includes Exchange Server 2007, Visual Studio 2008, and Visio Professional 2007, along with some extremely old stuff like SQL Server 2005 and Windows Server 2003. The company is also tossing in Windows Vista Business and Windows XP Professional, but not Windows 7. Apparently, Microsoft shops for its own software on eBay.

A complete list of the software available can be found here.

Student members will also have access to training, Microsoft-sponsored student clubs, and "increased access" to internship and job opportunities, according to the IEEE. ®

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