What's New in Microsoft Land: 18-22 February, 2008

Investing in the future is one of Microsoft's goals throughout its entire existence. It teamed with schools and supplied with everything needed for a better learning experience for the students, and even talked with governments to get them to sign on different study programs, that would benefit both the Redmond-based company and the countries.

On Monday, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates presented a software giveaway for college and high school students worldwide that will grant them access to all the latest developer and designer tools created by the company. The goal was to unlock the creative potential and set the young on their pathway to career success, and, why not, perhaps draft a few rookies right out of college. I anxiously await the day when a very good coder will have a press conference to declare himself eligible for Microsoft draft, but that's a dream I probably won't live to see happening.

The program is available to more than 35 million students, as I write this, and has a potential 1 billion worldwide. "We want to do everything we can to equip a new generation of technology leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to harness the magic of software to improve lives, solve problems and
catalyze economic growth," Gates said. "Microsoft DreamSpark provides professional-level tools that we hope will inspire students to explore the power of software and encourage them to forge the next wave of software-driven breakthroughs."

The software available through DreamSpark will get your blood to boil if you aren't a student: Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition, Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, XNA Game Studio 2.0, Expression Studio, including Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design and Expression Media, SQL Server 2005 Developer edition and Windows Server Standard Edition.

Windows Server 2008 made Microsoft's day on Tuesday, as a poll conducted by CDW Corporation clearly showed that it was waited for like rain in Sahara. Furthermore, it is anticipated to be such a big hit that it will actually shame Windows Vista in terms of adoption. Do remember that the Redmond-based company prided itself, late in 2007, that Vista had an install base in excess 100 million users.

"This poll reflects the complexity of today's server environment, where preferences for operating systems are more heterogeneous than in the desktop market," revealed David Cottingham, director of product and partner management at CDW. "Many data centers operate more than one server operating system, and every organization needs to have a server strategy in place to capitalize on the benefits and new features in the server operating system."

According to the survey, 63 percent of the 772 IT professionals questioned are preparing together with their organizations to upgrade to Windows Server 2008, as soon as it hits the market. Of course, there are some worries related to the migration from the 2003 version to the newer one to be released, mostly based on RTM build bugs and application, and hardware compatibility issues. They will be surpassed, however, because by the looks of it, Windows Server 2008 is just too good to pass on.

"This is consistent with the increasing interest CDW sees from customers in our offerings of server virtualization solutions. There are a variety of options available, of course, and while built-in virtualization will not be in the initial Windows Server 2008 Release-to-Manufacture version when it launches on February 27, Microsoft is tapping into this market interest with their plan to integrate virtualization features into the server operating system later this year," Cottingham concluded.
Xbox 360 fans must have gotten a stiffie on Wednesday when they were able to preview the portfolio for 2008. The big, big names included Gears of War 2 from Epic Games, Fable 2 from Lionhead Studios, Ninja Gaiden II from TECMO/ Team Ninja and Too Human from Silicon Knights.

"Gears of War 2" is the sequel to the 4.5 million-selling blockbuster that redefined the third-person tactical action game genre. "Gears of War 2" continues the story of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad in an epic saga of survival, loss and retribution. Developed by Epic Games exclusively for Xbox 360, "Gears of War 2" launches this November.

In addition to the dynamic co-op mode unveiled onstage, Peter Molyneux also announced that Carbonated Games was bringing the "Fable 2" experience to Xbox LIVE Arcade. Before the game's launch, gamers will be able to get an early taste of the "Fable 2" experience and gain a head start on earning currency for use in "Fable 2" by playing "Fable 2"-themed pub games that will be downloadable via Xbox LIVE Arcade. The currency earned in these Xbox LIVE Arcade titles will enable players to purchase items in "Fable 2," when the game launches later this year.

Tomonobu Itagaki debuted several tantalizing new Xbox LIVE features of "Ninja Gaiden II," including the ability to capture and share videos of a player's glorious battles via the Ninja Cinema feature and upload them to Xbox LIVE. "Ninja Gaiden II" launches worldwide this June.

Microsoft also showcased the epic action game from renowned Canadian developer Silicon Knights, "Too Human," at a media event before the keynote address. In "Too Human," players are treated to a nonstop barrage of action powered by the seamless integration of melee and firearms combat, plus deep role-playing elements fueled by breathtaking visuals enabled by the power of Xbox 360.

All the above descriptions and new feats were made available by Microsoft's PressPass.

source : news.softpedia.com

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