So say you are a poor college student who wants to program computers or write games for the XBOX 360. You’ve already spent all your money on tuition, room-and-board, and pizza. So your only choice is really a free distro of Linux and some free open source programming tools, right? Wrong.
Enter Microsoft DreamSpark which is a cool new program announced by Bill Gates yesterday. For verified college students, they can get free full-function versions of Windows Server 2003, Visual Studio 2008 (Professional), Expression Studio (including Blend, Web and Design), and the full XNA Game Studio (including 12 month subscription to the XNA Creators club to play your games on the XBOX 360).
This is thousands of dollars worth of software given out just because you happen to be getting a higher education. Later in life, unless you end up a career college student, you will have to pay for future versions. But as long as you are a student the stuff is free. To me this really is a win-win idea. Students get great full versions of professional development tools (even if it is just to evaluate against the free options). Microsoft gets their products in front of the future business and technology leaders. Sounds good to me