Visual Studio Express to Remain Free

Microsoft said Wednesday it had decided to extend the free availability of Visual Studio Express Edition indefinitely, citing the immense response from customers that amounted in the tool being downloaded over 5 million times. VS Express was initially going to be offered free for just one year.

A number of Microsoft partners have made use of Visual Studio Express to build developer communities around their products. The Redmond company cited examples of LEGO, eBay and Phidgets among those who are providing resources and code to software developers.

" All Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions including Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, Visual C++, and Visual Web Developer Express will be free permanently," exclaimed Dan Fernandez, lead product manager for Visual Studio Express.

Fernandez also announced a number of new content "starter kits" for those using Visual Studio Express. Among those packages listed on his blog are LEGO Mindstorms, Skype, MediaShare Messenger, and a Classifieds Site Starter Kit.

Microsoft additionally launched a contest called "Made in Express" offering $10,000 in prizes.

"Our thanks again to you, the Visual Studio Express community, for making Express so successful and we hope to continue building great tools and samples to enable the next generation of developers," added Fernandez.

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