Distributed December 7, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Cynthia Ferguson



Microsoft gives Brown students, faculty free access to most products

In selecting Brown University as a site for its Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance, Microsoft Corp. will give all students, faculty and staff access to a comprehensive package of programs – products that are especially useful to those in the school’s computer science and engineering departments.


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Under a new arrangement with Microsoft Corp., Brown University students, faculty and staff will enjoy free access to virtually all of the Microsoft product line.

Brown is one of four schools in the country selected as a test site for the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance (MSDN-AA), a comprehensive package of software programs, platforms and electronic tools. Although the package will be available to all members of the University, it promises to be of particular value to those in the school’s computer science and engineering departments.

MSDN-AA does not include access to some of the company’s popular productivity tools, such as Microsoft Office, but these products are already available to the Brown community at discounted prices through other Microsoft-sponsored programs.

Microsoft, which has been building a relationship with the University for several years, announced the gift this summer. Other schools selected as MSDN-AA sites are the California Institute of Technology, the University of Utah and the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.

“Fostering a strong relationship with Brown is important to Microsoft,” says Brown senior Christopher Chin, who was hired by Microsoft to serve as a student consultant at the University. “Microsoft wants to be part of Brown’s cutting-edge research.” Chin plans to set up “student user groups” on campus, providing students with a way to help one another with the Microsoft products now at their disposal.

The MSDN-AA package includes some powerful and widely used products. Visual Studio 6.0, for example, is a tool computer scientists find useful when developing new software and building new products. Visio 2000 is a program engineers often rely on when preparing highly technical diagrams and documents. The University will be furnished with all new releases and updates of the products, as well as all “bug fixes” as they become available. Unlimited installations are allowed, but the software must be used for academic pursuits and not administrative functions.

Also part of the package – and expected to benefit the widest audience on campus – is the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows XP. Now that Windows XP is available, distribution will take place soon.

Most Windows-based workstations housed in the computer science and engineering facilities will be fully equipped with the MSDN-AA package. Students, staff and faculty members can install the software on personal computers as well, as long as they agree to use it for educational and research purposes. Brown, at least initially, will distribute the Microsoft programs and platforms on CDs which can be checked out for installation.

Brown’s highly ranked computer science department and its many interdisciplinary pursuits are among the reasons Microsoft gives for choosing the University as a test site. “Brown developed pioneering programs in computer science theory and graphics and user interaction,” notes a Microsoft press release. “Today, students and faculty also lead cutting-edge, interdisciplinary work in computer engineering and computational biology.”

“Serving as an MSDN-AA site provides our students and faculty with state-of-the-art programming tools, the latest in operating systems, and powerful software designed to make it easier for scientists and engineers to get their work done,” says Thomas Dean, computer science professor and acting vice president of Computing and Information Services. Microsoft estimates the value of its MSDN-AA package at $2,299 per user.

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