Microsoft Kicks Off Competition for Developers Who “Dare to Dream Different”

REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 9, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a call for entries for the Microsoft Dare to Dream Different challenge, a skills-based competition for software developers to design and build innovative devices on the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework, Microsoft’s smallest embedded platform for resource-constrained devices. The Microsoft Dare to Dream Different competition is designed to recognize the many unique and creative ways that developers can use the .NET Micro Framework to spur the innovation of small, connected devices.

How the Contest Works

Developers are invited to submit an entry online via the .NET Micro Framework Web site at Submissions must describe their dream device, and explain how they would bring it to life with the .NET Micro Framework platform. Initial entries will be accepted through Dec. 15, 2008. The contest consists of two categories, Hobbyist and Professional, and the top 50 semifinalists in each category will receive a .NET Micro Framework developer kit, which will include the software and hardware needed to build and submit a working prototype of their dream device.

Semifinalists will be required to submit a video demonstration of their prototype, and the top 5 finalists in each category will make presentations on their prototype before a panel of industry experts. Of those finalists, three winners in each category will be announced in May 2009.

“If you can build something as simple as a device to reliably ensure that someone is taking their medications accurately, you can change the lives of millions of people and help them live independently longer,” said Colin Miller, product unit manager for the .NET Micro Framework at Microsoft. “That is one example of the power of devices. The .NET Micro Framework enables a wide range of incredible devices that not only further technology, but offer professional and hobbyist developers greater opportunities to follow their passions and do incredible things. By bringing the familiar Microsoft Visual Studio environment to the embedded world, the .NET Micro Framework makes embedded programming really easy for desktop developers and hobbyists. We expect this contest to generate a lot of interest and momentum for embedded systems in general.”

Contest Categories and Prizes

The professional category is designed for the expert developer who is interested in eventually converting an idea into a commercial product, while the hobbyist category is geared toward technology enthusiasts who are passionate about developing cool, new devices in their spare time as a leisure activity. Prizes in each category are as follows:

  • Professional Developer Category: Start a Business as a Microsoft Partner. The Grand Prize, First Prize and Second Prize Winners in the Professional Category will receive guidance and tools to help start their own business as a .NET Micro Framework Microsoft Partner. Total prizes in this category have an approximate retail value of more than $73,000 and include cash, free business and development software, consulting time with Microsoft experts, and promotional opportunities.

  • Hobbyist Developer Category: Spread the word about your cool creation. Total prizes in this category have an approximate retail value of $23,500 and include cash, an Xbox 360 console, Zune digital media player (subject to availability) and promotional products. The winners in this category also will receive the opportunity to include their winning solution in a Microsoft marketing campaign.

A complete description of the prizes, eligibility and entry requirements can be found on the Microsoft Dare to Dream Different Web page at The contest is open to individuals 18 years of age or older with technical programming education, experience and/or knowledge to create a working prototype of an embedded solution using .NET Micro Framework. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST on Dec. 15, 2008. No purchase is necessary to win. A qualified panel of judges will select the winners in May 2009.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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