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Only a valid email address will now be required

Yay cloud: Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) announced this week that it is dropping restrictions to its Student Advantage ("Dreamspark") program, which offered free Office 365 access to college students.

Before, you only got free access if your university did the paperwork of enrolling in the partner program.  Now Microsoft has dropped that restriction.  All you need now to enroll is an active college email address.

Students who sign up will get: Office 365 and OneDrive

That's not bad considering that Office used to set you back $100 USD or more.  It's part of Microsoft's increased drive to stay competitive amidst its struggles in the mobile market.  Under new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft is increasingly moving towards a model of freemium software to consumers.

The model seems smart given than Microsoft's revenue lies on the enterprise side and enterprise revenue is protected by Microsoft's market share.  By going free on the consumer side Microsoft makes it more likely that the incumbent Windows will hold its ground against hungry newcomers like Google Inc. (GOOG), safeguarding vital enterprise revenue.

Sources: Microsoft [blog], via Neowin





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