While I was standing at the Microsoft booth at the IIT tech-fest when a school boy (8th grade) came to the stall, filled out the necessary form & was given the Dreamspark coupon. This then led to the MSPs there shouting amongst themselves to be careful about whom they give the coupons.
The boy calmly said he learns java, implying that he is into coding & the offer will help him, which IMHO it would. Seeing this I went to the MSFT representative there & asked him as to why is a school student not being provided with the coupons, he said that there were legal reasons for the same.
I had the privilege of speaking to the Director for Academic Access Programs Microsoft India & asked him about the same. He was amazed & calmly explained to me what must have led to the confusion:
Imagine Cup is something Microsoft wants students to participate in & the age limit for it is 18 years. Allowing less than 18 year olds to participate would be illegal & Imagine Cup was something that was being promoted at the stall, now this was a case of Chinese Whispers, where Imagine Cup age limit was also considered as some sort of Dreamspark giveaway age limit.
The second issue I spoke to him about was Dreamspark being used by partners for their gains, he assured me that they were aware of the same & have had dialogues with the partners regarding the same.
The third thing that we talked about was scaling Dreamspark & this was something I was dying to hear. Along with partners, Microsoft also plans to go directly to colleges & strike a deal of sorts with colleges to provide the students with development tools under Dreamspark. Apparently certain competitions might also be planned.
Here’s hoping that Dreamspark does spark a lot of dreams. I still have a couple of Dreamspark coupons to give away.