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Microsoft, Partners Launch Discount Windows Initiative for Schools

Microsoft and some of its hardware partners on Tuesday unveiled a plan to offer discounted Windows-based devices for U.S. schools.

The company -- along with partners such as Dell and Lenovo that serve K-12 institutions -- is launching an education program that will cut up to $1 billion in costs on software and devices in the coming year by opening up discounts that were previously available only to high-needs institutions. The program is open immediately to all public schools in the United States.

According to Microsoft, the program "specifically supports President Obama's ConnectED goals of connecting U.S. schools to the digital age within five years by providing cost-efficient devices and services."

The program includes discounts on hardware (tablets, laptops and other devices) and access to software and training, including Microsoft's Partners in Learning teacher resources.

Microsoft will also give away IT Academy "for the roughly 2,000 at-risk designated schools" in the United States "to provide the schools and their educators, students and staff with the digital curriculum and certifications to gain fundamental technology skills and be successful in today's best jobs."

The company is also contributing $1 million "to cover certification exams for students from these schools."

"Education is the most important investment we can make for our collective future," said Judson Althoff, president of Microsoft North America, in a prepared statement. "With this new Microsoft education offer, we are heeding the President's challenge to ensure all students have access to the technology devices and services they need to succeed."

"Education transformation is happening now and technology is the tool that not only will enhance the work of our educators, but will allow a more immersive, engaging experience for our students," said Margo Day, Microsoft's vice president of U.S. Education. "For more than a decade, Microsoft has helped educators and school leaders connect, collaborate and create so that students can realize their greatest potential. With this new offer, we can extend that experience to all of our U.S. schools and students."

About the Author

Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.