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Great news for college students (and perhaps not so great news for parents): Microsoft announced today that it will offer a free Xbox 360 with 4 gigabytes of storage (a $199 value) to any student who purchases a Windows 7 computer for $699 or more.
It’s a smooth move for Microsoft, since it gets Xbox 360s into even more dorm rooms, gives students one more reason to go with a Windows PC instead of a Mac, and is a great way to get rid of its low-end Xbox 360 stock (the 4GB unit doesn’t come with a hard drive).
Even better, Microsoft is allowing students to purchase any Windows 7 PC over $699 — though it recommends a few specific models like the sexy Samsung Series 9 ultraportable.
Apple has offered students similar deals in the past by offering them a free iPod Touch. But by offering students a free Xbox 360, Microsoft will also ensure that it has a presence on their televisions. At this point, the Xbox 360 is more than just a game console — it’s an entertainment centerpiece thanks to its support for Netflix, Last.FM, and Microsoft’s Zune Market.
Students can take advantage of the deal by purchasing a PC in online stores including Dell, HP and Microsoft’s with their .edu school email address. Additionally, students can bring their school ID to Best Buy or a Microsoft Store to purchase their computers in person.
The offer will be available from May 23 to September 3 — which should give students plenty of time to pick their preferred computers. I also suggest students check in with their schools to see if they offer additional discounts on Windows 7 PCs. Most higher education IT departments offer discounts on computer hardware and software.
We’ll be exploring the most disruptive game technologies and business models at our third annual GamesBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the disruptive trends in the mobile games market. GamesBeat is co-located with our MobileBeat 2011 conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors can message us at email@example.com.