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This will either be considered a stroke of marketing genius, or a blight on the educational system as we know it. Starting on May 22, Microsoft plans to give away free Xbox 360s to high-school or college students who purchase new Windows PCs priced at $699 or more.

I can see this promotion being wildly successful, and destroying a few college careers.

Where do you think 18-year-olds would prefer to spend their time: writing a term paper on their new Windows PC or blasting away in a game of Portal 2 on their new Xbox?

The offer will only be available as supplies last at select retailers such as The Microsoft Store, and Mashable also notes that it’s a little odd for Microsoft to start the promotion just as school is letting out for the summer.

Microsoft says it has a long history of creating special offers for students, and this is just the latest in that tradition. The company writes:

We wanted to thank students for choosing a new Windows 7 PC and give them the opportunity to experience more of what Microsoft has to offer from both productivity, social and entertainment perspective.  With an Xbox 360 students have access to the largest network of gamers spanning PC and Xbox 360, so it’s easy to find friends or players at any level. For even more access to the media they love, Xbox 360 Live Gold memberships give students access to Netflix, ESPN, HuluPlus, Facebook and on the largest screen in the dorm room!

More about the promotion on the Windows Experience Blog, which has a pretty funny comment thread with students wondering how they can get the deal and others who just bought PCs who still want to get in on the offer.

Microsoft is touting the promotion with a character from Halo who makes an appearance at a graduation ceremony. Funny stuff, just not sure all parents will be laughing at this one.


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