Microsoft Eyes Students for Web Design Work

Huge technology company Microsoft is busy launching new products this season, but as one report points out they have their eye on another ball. They have launched several competitions for web design schools and students to help fulfill some of the company’s ambitions. Winning a major competition hosted by Microsoft while a student is still in web design school can pay off in big way now and later.

Microsoft might seem focused on its “smoked by Windows Phone” campaign or its big upcoming Nokia Lumia 900 launch, but scrape beneath this glossy surface and you’ll discover some interesting work carried on without the typical pizzazz of the marketing world. Ben Lower, a senior product manager for Windows Phone, is behind a number of efforts that focus on student developers and involve a significant amount of investment from the company. Competitions like XAPFest, Imagine Cup, and Big App on Campus have all raised awareness of Windows Phone amongst students, but do these efforts lead to reward for Microsoft?

With games developers displaying a lack of interest in Windows Phone, will Microsoft’s students bring new hope to its mobile platform?

Microsoft re-entered the mobile world with Windows Phone 7 in late 2010 after scrapping its stylus-burdened Windows Mobile operating system. Although critics argue the company doesn’t have enough quality applications yet, many have been quick to praise Microsoft’s design and user interface efforts. Microsoft can’t solve its app situation overnight, but its focus on bringing the top apps to Windows Phone and student activities suggest that it’s in the race for the long term.

Lower said that, following an emphasis on student developers with the release of Microsoft’s latest 7.5 Mango update, “we’ve seen an 8-times increase in the number of student apps published each month.”

Read more from The Verge here.

More Reading on Microsoft Competitions:

XAPFest

Imagine Cup

Big App on Campus