Free software for CEGEPS – gift horse or marketing ploy?

Free software for CEGEPS – gift horse or marketing ploy?

Floppy-disk
Quebec City, (Quebec) August 24, 2012 – The software giant Microsoft, is offering its Office 365 software to any CEGEP that wants to use it. Free of charge.

The offer has been on the table for a couple of years but so far only the Cegep Ahuntsic in Montreal took advantage of it. This year however, a new CEGEP is on board with the program. CEGEP Limoilou has given the go ahead to Microsoft to install the software on their computers for absolutely free, allowing its students to use the program and familiarize themselves with its many uses, especially for word processing. It’s a marketing ploy by Microsoft which at the same time gives students a chance to use the software that usually sells for $100 a download.
The idea is that the students will eventually want the software on their own computers instead of using a Google product. It’s a win-win for Microsoft and students.

So far Cegep Limoilou is the only institution in the greater Quebec City area that has accepted Microsoft’s offer but, others are giving it some serious thought. Cegep Limoilou’s IT director, Russell Pearson says it’s an offer that can’t be refused, stating that it will give a chance to students to be familiar with the software that is used by most companies, before hitting the job market giving them a clear advantage.

There is one CEGEP that wants nothing to do with Microsoft’s generosity however, and that’s the CEGEP de Rimouski. They would rather use the free systems available on the internet stating that it saves them about $100,000 a year by not having to pay the licence fee to Microsoft. There are free word processing programs out there which are similar to Office but that are not always compatible, meaning the work done on them has to be adapted to Microsoft’s system if needed, making it a little more complicated for the user.

La Féderation des CÉGEPs approves strongly with the free offer, as most businesses require new hires to be familiar with Office and its many capabilities when starting a new job.

Life in Québec staff writer

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