Microsoft will sponsor this Sunday’s Lawnparties, the first time that Lawnparties has had an external company contribute money to the biannual concert, USG officials said. At a Microsoft tent located across the street from Cannon Club, the company will be offering students a live demo of Office 365, hoping to convince students to choose the Microsoft Office suite over Google Apps. Microsoft will also showcase its other products, including Windows 8 and XBConnect, software that will allow students to play Xbox 360 games on their computers.
USG president Bruce Easop ’13 said that offering sponsorship to Microsoft provided the University with more funding to improve the event. USG social chair Benedict Wagstaff ’14 declined to comment on the amount donated by Microsoft. He did say that the USG wanted to make sure that the addition of a corporate sponsor did not take away from the Lawnparties experience.
“When sponsors came to us, we really wanted to make sure that this stays a student event and not a sponsor event,” Wagstaff said. One of the reasons Microsoft was eventually chosen was because the company said it wanted to create a fun and interactive environment, Wagstaff added, which is aligned with “that spirit of Lawnparties.”
Microsoft Account Manager Dave Zamborsky explained that despite the presence of the company, Microsoft is “not there to market heavily” but that they are coming to campus to “show what could be and what’s available.”
Although the University announced in May that it was shifting email communication to Gmail, students still have the option of choosing Office 365. Undergraduate email for the Classes of 2013, 2014 and 2016 has already been migrated to the new server.
“As part of the Princeton agreement that you students have, you have access to both of these products at no cost,” Zamborsky said. “So we are trying to get out there and show what is available and what you can be taking advantage of.”
Microsoft has been working with the USG regarding its campus appearance since last spring’s concert, Zamborsky said. He explained that the company decided to come to Lawnparties because it offered Microsoft the best opportunity to engage the highest number of students. Many students, he said, simply don’t know that they have a choice to make.
“If you polled a hundred students, there’s going to be a good chance that many of them are unaware that they have access to this product for free, so we’re really trying to get students aware of the fact that they have this option,” he said.
Zamborsky said his company believes that students who switch to Office 365 will become accustomed to the products used in the business world. Of the Fortune 500 U.S. companies and corporations, 90 percent use Microsoft Office, Zamborsky said.
“[Microsoft] really wants to help to make you students as marketable as possible when you’re going into the workplace,” Zamborsky said. “Learning these solutions and products that are available to you at no cost now will make you a more marketable person when you graduate and are looking for a career.”
“We’re really trying to get engaged with faculty, students and staff — everyone in the institutional market — to make a little more of a push toward what could be possible and to leverage what you are paying for,” Zamborsky said.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/09/14/31112/