I have blogged in the past about my involvement in the Imagine Cup where students around the world who are like-minded and passionate about using technology to solve real-world problems come together and show their best ideas.
This year, a similar event was launched called The Ingenuity Point to recognize ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) that are using Microsoft platforms to make significant contributions in the fields of education, healthcare and the environment.
The first round of this contest ended October 31st and three winners were chosen in each of the three categories. One of these, Tobii Technology, built My Tobii, a device that allows quadriplegics or people with degenerative nerve diseases to operate a computer using only the movement of their eyes. The system has opened up a new world of independence for individuals suffering from afflictions such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and ALS. A second round was launched November 1st and will conclude February 28th. The winners of both rounds will compete for the grand prize, a free trip to Paris, France to serve as a guest judge at the Imagine Cup.
Ultimately Microsoft is a platform company. We build the technology basis on which the largest ecosystem of partners in the world build solutions that provide value to customers. Having this large base enables people to choose from a large variety of technology solutions that suit their business needs. We recognize that we are dependent on our partners building on our platforms. ISV’s have always been a key part of Microsoft's overall partner strategy. The partners we work with span all business ecosystems, industry verticals, and locations around the globe.
In order to help the ISV community to be successful, we have developed a number of resources designed specifically for ISVs and have put them all in one location at http://www.microsoft.com/isv. Here you can find product related news and tools, information about partner programs, training and event resources, stories of successes and challenges from their peers, as well as information on events like the Ingenuity Point. There are even regional versions of this site such as http://www.microsoft.com/isv/mea that directs our partners to events and resources that are relevant to a specific geography.