Microsoft makes Multi-million Pound Investment to help Catalyse UK Innovation
Through the wire : -
Reading, UK. — Feb. 19, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today will unveil a software giveaway that will ultimately provide university students across the United Kingdom with 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 multi-million pound investment is further testament to Microsoft’s support for building technology skills that are increasingly key to an innovative and globally competitive UK economy.
The Microsoft DreamSpark student programme (http://downloads.channel8.msdn.com) makes available, at no charge, a broad range of professional development and design software for download. DreamSpark is available to more than six million Higher and Further Education students in the U.K today. In addition, the programme will expand to provide access to secondary school students throughout the next year.
“No matter what choices our students make today and in the future, Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills are set to play a far more significant role in their lives than they have done for their predecessors,” said Steve Beswick, Director of Education at Microsoft UK Ltd. He continued, “Software tools and platforms are no longer exclusive to those studying computing. This is why through Dreamspark, Microsoft is proud to be making a multi-million pound investment to help drive innovation across the breadth of academic learning in the UK.”
Demand for Software Expertise in the Knowledge Economy
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. In a separate study, the 2007 Developing the Future (DtF) report commissioned by Microsoft and co-sponsored by Intellect, the British Computer Society (BCS) and The City University, London found that the Knowledge Economy is the fastest growing part of the UK economy: It is expected that by 2010 the Knowledge Economy will contribute 50% of UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to Karen Price, CEO at E-Skills, “The UK’s productivity and future competitiveness depends on making the most of technology. Microsoft is an active supporter of e-skills UK’s campaign to make the UK world class in technology skills and helping the workforce of the future to develop valuable IT skills.”
“Skillset welcomes the move by Microsoft to make a significant range of software open and freely available to students. In delivering industry standard tools and learning materials into the hands of students, Microsoft is helping to ensure the next generation of games developers and interactive designers are properly equipped for the challenges of the workplace,” said Kate O'Connor, Executive Director of Policy & Development for Skillset. “Skillset is active in helping to build links between employers and educators through our network of academies and accredited courses, and this initiative from Microsoft is a great example for other employers to follow in becoming involved in the development of their future workforce.”
Priming the Talent Pipeline
Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all students whose studies incorporate technology, design, maths, science and engineering. For example students of history who need to analyse complex historical data can benefit from database software and supporting tools. Students 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.
Ben Nunney, a student at The University of Greenwich commented: “This is an amazing offer from Microsoft, which will benefit so many students from so many different academic backgrounds. Before this announcement, as a PGCE (Postgraduate Certification in Education) student I wouldn't have had access to this type of service, even though it would have been a huge benefit. I'm certain that DreamSpark will have massive appeal and it's great that it can be applied to the less computer centered courses. I know that my fellow students will be reaping the rewards of this for months to come.”
Microsoft is working with service providers, academic institutions, government and student associations such as the UK Access Management Federation, and Eduserv, to ensure the necessary identity-verification technology infrastructure exists to bring Microsoft DreamSpark to all UK students. The programme will be expanded as fast as this community-based effort with government and organisations can be connected.
“Previously, access to tools and software of this type was limited to 300 thousand UK students who specialised in computing courses. As an industry leader, Microsoft has a responsibility to work with industry and academic colleagues to push the boundaries of science and innovation in the UK,” said Dr. Andrew Sithers, Academic Manager at Microsoft Ltd. He continued, “Innovation is the lifeblood of industry and has always been one of our country’s key assets. The UK has a massive contribution to make and this is why today’s announcement is another example of how we will support it in every way we can.”
Package and availability
The following cutting-edge software will be available to empower students to unlock their ingenuity by building critical skills:
· 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 2008 Professional Edition
* Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
* XNA Game Studio 2.0
* 12-month Academic membership of 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 reality.
* SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
* Windows Server, Standard Edition
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.