CAIRO, July 3 /PRNewswire/ --

- Global finals of the world's largest technology competition begin today in

Competition begins today in Cairo for 444 students from 124 countries and
regions at the Imagine Cup 2009 Worldwide Finals. Now in its seventh year,
Imagine Cup is an annual Microsoft Corp. competition that challenges students
around the globe to use their creative genius to build technology solutions that
can help address some of the world's toughest challenges.


This year, the students' efforts are focused on using technology to help address
the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. These goals encompass some of
the most difficult issues facing our world, ranging from halving extreme poverty
and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to providing universal primary education. The
Imagine Cup calls on young programmers, artists and technologists to rise to
this challenge: Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest
problems facing us today.

More than 300,000 students from 100 countries accepted this challenge and
registered for Imagine Cup 2009. Over the past year, students have participated
in local, regional and online competitions, showcasing their innovative
solutions to real-world problems. The winners of these initial rounds arrive in
Cairo today, where they will present their entries to a panel of judges from
academia and the technology industry. At stake is more than US$288,000 in prize
money and the chance to kick-start their careers in one of several technological

By providing students with cutting-edge technology and challenging them to
address some of our world's most challenging issues, the Microsoft Imagine Cup
is tapping an incredible and limitless resource - the passion, creativity and
talents of students from around the globe, said Ray Ozzie, chief software
architect at Microsoft.

Student teams compete in the Imagine Cup 2009 Worldwide Finals across nine
categories: Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Development, IT
Challenge, Robotics and Algorithm, MashUp, Photography, Short Film and Design.
The winners will be announced on Tuesday, July 7, as part of the Imagine Cup
World Festival closing ceremonies with the pyramids at Giza as the backdrop.

Students around the world are contributing their creativity and passion in this
year's Imagine Cup, and they have developed truly amazing solutions to tackle
the most pressing social problems facing our world, said Joe Wilson, senior
director of Academic Initiatives in the Developer Platform Evangelism Division
at Microsoft. It's clear that the leaders of tomorrow's most innovative
companies won't be found in boardrooms - they will be discovered in dorm rooms.

In addition to the nine main categories of competition, there are several
Achievement Awards this year, including the Interoperability Award, Unlimited
Potential Design for Development Award, Accessibility Award, Unlimited Potential
MultiPoint Education Award, Parallel Computing Award, Tablet Accessibility Award
and the H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak Special Award sponsored by the first lady of
Egypt through the Cyber Peace Initiative (CPI).

Imagine Cup Sponsors

The Imagine Cup is being supported by a range of partner organizations including
Paramount Digital Entertainment, Mesh Services Live Framework, Microsoft
Accessibility Business Unit, Microsoft Education Product Group, Microsoft
Interoperability, Microsoft Learning, Microsoft Research External Research,
Microsoft Parallel Computing Platform, Microsoft Robotics, Microsoft Unlimited
Potential Group, Windows Embedded Business, Windows Mobile and Microsoft XNA
Game Platform Group.

More information on the Imagine Cup is available online at More information on the United Nations Millennium
Development Goals can be found online at
Up-to-date information on the finals competition is available at the official
Imagine Cup blog.

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

SOURCE: Microsoft Corp

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