The long reach of Microsoft and the BIll Gates Foundation, well known for its charitable organizations throughtou the world, has extended to academia, reports AP.
Microsoft Corp. regularly sponsors technology contests, donates products to educators, runs extensive research centers around the world and donates products to educators.
"Microsoft certainly pays a lot of attention to the education space," said Jeffrey Young, a senior editor with The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Microsoft knows that if the youth of today are the computer shoppers of tommorrow, those students who use Microsoft products in school and at home are more likely to buy them when they are employed at the university or government. Perhaps more importantly, students who become developers will adopt the Microsoft environment.
"As a whole, it's an investment for us, but it pays off in a pretty big way," Gates said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Microsoft, dominent in home-use computer products, has a harder time thriving in the academic setting, where open-source and Apple technologies are preferred.
"Microsoft's maturing a lot as a company, and they're getting lots and lots of good people," he said. "I think that's more responsible for getting a better reputation on campus than they had before — and the products are better," said Hal Abelson, a computer science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology