The name: Microsoft, is synonymous with computers and computer software. The company founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen is, in fact, the world’s largest software maker and one of the world’s most valuable companies. The Microsoft PC operating system and Microsoft Office suite plus all sorts of other ventures, such as the search engine, Bing, phones, and the new, Microsoft Surface Tablet, are just some of the things users almost take for granted. But where would we be, without them? So it was with great anticipation that I got a chance to meet with some bona fide Microsoft people (“Microsoft-ies?”) at their New York offices. I was there to hear about some new projects that are hot off the press, including a new program that works like a bridal registry for students who want to fund a new computer.
The first thing I heard about was the new program for college students (anyone that has an @edu address) called ‘Chip In.” It’s like a bridal registry, but also like the new type of communal funding programs like Kickstarter. Basically, students check out a group of new computers and select the PC of their choice at www.WindowsChipin.com. Then, they can crowd-source funds (in my language “solicit monies” from friends and family to help them purchase a qualified Windows 8 PC of their choosing from MicrosoftStore.com. Once the computer is funded, the program ends (and if not enough funds are gathered, the monies are returned to the donors). Maybe to old fogies this sounds tacky, but if it does to you, keep in mind (moms, dads, and others) that Microsoft will “chip in” 10% of the purchase price and for the first 10,000 students to fully fund their PC, Microsoft will also “chip in” a four-year subscription of Office 365 University at no additional charge. It’s an offer that is hard to refuse.
And another goodie from Microsoft is this one — When you buy a Windows 8 PC at any participating retail store, you get a four-year subscription to Office 365 University included, as well. So what is Office 265 Unviersity? It is a set of powerful and versatile tools for people of all ages (The Advice Sisters tried the Office 365 home version –anyone can get a month free trial). Note that the home version is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac OS X 10.6 or later and you get the software for 5 PCs or Macs plus a few other devices. You get Skype (60 minutes of Skype calls per month), and +20GB SkyDrive storage. This version is $9.99 per month or $99.00 per year. I love the fact that you can open PDF files as word document. That makes it so much easier (especially as a writer who gets a lot of PDF files, but needs to take content off pdfs all the time).
The student version includes everything they need to succeed including Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and more. Plus − all of their work is stored automatically in the cloud with SkyDrive for easy access and sharing from anywhere. The Office 365 University version is a four-year subscription (US$79.99) that includes the latest Office applications on up to 2 devices (PC or Mac), plus an additional 20GB of storage in SkyDrive, and 60 anywhere minutes with Skype. Students can share documents and work on their projects on Office anywhere with Web Apps, Office on Demand and the cloud on SkyDrive.
I took a quick look at the sign-up process for Chip In, and it is super-easy. Students connect this to their Facebook pages, so everyone knows what they want. A PC is the number one item college students need and will probably buy with their graduation money. Instead of guessing what they want, give them what they want! There are 14 different computers to choose from, including tablets, laptops and larger computers. The least expensive option is under $400 and students can even opt for the new Surface tablet starting at just $499.00 or go all the way up to a powerful all in one Sony Vaio L24 for a little over $1000. Older folks might find this type of gift request a bit unique, but consider that this generation of college students is already used to gathering community on social media to say what they want, and now, to also fund what they want.
The program began May 28, and runs through September 1, 2013. Tell everyone!!!!!
Phone, iPhone, iPad and Android phones).