Back in the 80s (way back!) Apple got a toe-hold in the PC market in part by engineering a high presence in colleges and high schools. The theory was that if you get a young person started on an Apple computer then they will want to continue using Apple computers into their adult careers, if for no other reason than they already know how to use it. This strategy actually worked reasonably well.

Microsoft has always struggled with their presence in colleges and high schools. These institutions tend to favor the JLAMP stack (Java, Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP) over the Windows platform. What mind-share Microsoft has with students seems to tend toward the “evil empire” variety.

I’m pleased to see that Microsoft has finally made a bold move to improve their visibility in the college community. My son – a college student – pointed it out to me the other day. The program, launched last February, is called DreamSpark:

DreamSpark is simple, it’s all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and design 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.

Looking at the list of software available for free through this program, it almost makes me want to enroll in a class or two at my local university!

For more information: https://downloads.channel8.msdn.com/