Microsoft does its homework

Microsoft polled several students in the U.S. and Canada to find out and from that research has come a new software called Students.It will be placed in Microsoft’s Encarta division, but according to Natalie Tehrani, Microsoft Canada’s marketing manager for the home and entertainment division, the software will work alongside Office.
“This is a whole new category. There is nothing like it on the market,” Tehrani said.
Microsoft took an in-depth look at what is on a typical home PC for students between grades six and 12.
“We know Office is on the machine, but it is not designed for a student who has to solve a math problem or write an English paper.

“Office is designed for the office worker,” Tehrani said.
She added that kids spend time using Microsoft products on title pages, so the company developed an Encarta version for those who require help with essay writing.
On the right hand side of the user screen there is always a Teacher who provides help. For example, the Teacher can direct a student to one of eight essay-writing formats. Word tools are integrated into the product, such as the thesaurus.
Students also comes with a French language template and translation dictionary. There is also a section to help with creating footnotes and bibliographies.
“The package is smart enough to launch from Word, and Student tools can be placed right on the tool bar,” Tehrani said.
For math students, this package has a built in graphics calculator. Users will be able to add skins to the calculator.
In the geography section there are comprehensive maps and flags.
There is also a Web component to Students so that users can do a search the Web to complete homework. This search engine, Tehrani said, uses content based on Encarta.
Students costs $79 at retailers, including a one-year free subscription to Encarta articles.
Tehrani confirmed that Microsoft is planning point of purchase displays for FutureShop and Best Buy around Students.
Also for the holiday season, Microsoft will unveil an improved Digital Image suite with more photo editing and storage capabilities.
In its mice line up, the company said it will replace the Agilent chipsets in the devices.
As of press time, Microsoft could not confirm who would provide the chipsets.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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