Microsoft, in an effort to try and get something right, or in an attempt to publicise themselves to the relevant markets, are asking students along with families and small businesses to participate in a test of Office 2010 before its release.
Not only that, this gives the lucky selected few not only access to a loaner laptop for six months, access to the Office 2010 software (if you haven't downloaded it illegally already) but also access to the highly sought after Office Web Applications (OWebA).
I can almost see Mary Jo foaming at the mouth just thinking about that. I don't blame her; I want access to the OWebA's more than anyone.
All they ask in return is that they use you in "features Microsoft public relations and marketing activities". God only know what that means but I can all but guarantee it involves signing your soul away to a suspicious looking man flipping a nickel.
However, they will give you 24 hour a day unlimited email support (between Monday to Friday, so already there's a slight catch) but they'll give you a copy of Office 2010 once it ships for absolutely free.
Under "who they are looking for", they mention college/university students as one of their primary audiences, stating as one of the types they want to hear from:
"This is a person who attends school part-time or full-time as a teacher or student. They use productivity suite like Microsoft Office, Google Docs or Open are technologically savvy, use computers regularly for school, and collaborate on projects or assignment with other students.
They use the computer to help them with their schoolwork or to stay organized. They may also use the computer to prepare for the working world or getting a job. This person is good in front a camera and is a great communicator."
Personally, I read into that as student, techno-geek, Microsoft lover, assignment-oriented, relatively attractive and doesn't wear braces. My interpretation, my opinion.
You have to be a US citizen and (at least) a student with less than five machines. They hint it could well open up to other markets at a later time, but no prior experience with Office is required.
You can sign up here to fill out an application online, and they close on June 30th 2009, so get in quick.