Microsoft officially took the wraps off of its new social network for students on Thursday. The service is called So.cl and was developed by Microsoft Research’s FUSE Labs division. It’s currently in “experimental” stages and is available to students attending the University of Washington, New York University and Syracuse University. So.cl allows users to log-in with their Facebook accounts and offers a similar set of features. In addition to adding status updates, photos and links, users can also join “video parties” to watch movies and chat with a group of friends. “So.cl is not meant to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools,” Microsoft said on its So.cl FAQ page. “It is an experimental research project using a minimal set of features which help combine search with the social network for the purpose of learning.” More →
It’s certainly not going to knock any socks off this year, but Apple has finally kicked off its annual back to school sale. A day behind schedule, Apple on Thursday announced that students making qualifying Mac purchases will receive a complimentary $100 iTunes gift card. The offer applies to college students and those accepted into college, and any MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac or Mac Pro purchase will qualify for the gift card. Apple’s promotion this year offers less than half the back-for-your-buck compared to past promotions that offered a free iPod touch with each purchase, but $100 toward software for your new Mac computer on top of a 10% student discount still makes for a decent deal. Apple’s offer runs from now through September 20th, so students have more than enough time to wait for that imminent MacBook Air refresh we’ve all been expecting. More →
Earlier today, while speaking to a group of students and journalists at the London School of Economics, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that there will indeed be iPad-competing slate products running Windows by Christmas. The catch? Steve didn’t clarify whether these products would be shipping, or just announced, nor who would manufacture them. With HP most likely changing course to offer a webOS-based tablet as opposed to a Windows 7 slate, we’ve got to wonder who will end up being first in this category… More →
Cloud-based productivity suites are popping up left and right these days and each new product poses a new level of competition to Microsoft’s Office Suite, which at one time had reached monopoly-like status. It’s still certainly at the top of the pile of course and Microsoft is planning to embrace the cloud at some point, but the company has a more immediate need to invigorate current Office offerings. The solution? Get ’em while they’re young. Regularly priced at $679.95, Microsoft just dropped its student pricing on Office Ultimate 2007 an unheard of 91 percent to $59.95. That’s right, Ultimate 2007 is now less than half the price of Home and Student 2007 which only includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote compared to Ultimate 2007’s 10 software titles. Got a valid .edu email address? Head on over to the Microsoft shop and get your discount on.