The Washington state Employment Security Department announced that it is giving away all of Microsoft’s software training courses to anyone who is registered in the state career-development program.

The Microsoft classes are available to all WorkSource customers, and for all of Microsoft’s software, from Windows and Office to SQL Server and Windows Server.

This is the first time that Microsoft makes all of its tutorials available through an unemployment agency, and it is a one of-a-kind $350,000 contract, according to Jeff Johnson, the company’s North America academic lead for the Microsoft IT Academy program.

All courses can be accessed from any computer, which allows people to work from home, from the library or from a WorkSource center, and there are available in several languages, without any limit to the number of people that can join the program. More »

This milestone in the product lifecycle of XP has generated a range of questions, some easier to answer than others. Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions along with answers, some right from Microsoft. Hopefully, the FAQ will be sufficient to provide guidance for customers that need to make the transition from XP SP2 to more recent releases of Windows.

1. How will XP SP2 customers be impacted by end of support for the service pack?

Microsoft software products evolve constantly, with major products receiving upgrades dubbed service packs. In the case of XP SP2, the upgrade was indeed massive, with some company employees noting that Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista’s successor could easily have been considered an entirely new Windows release. The software giant only offers support for Service Packs for 12 to 24 months after a new release. This period varies, and is connected with the product family. In the specific case of XP SP2, July 13th, 2010 will mark two years since the release of Service Pack 3. More »

According to Microsoft, a total of two computers are more than sufficient to qualify a customer for Volume Licensing, Software Assurance and the adjacent benefits. Eric Ligman, Global Partner Experience lead Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, revealed that, despite the common belief for some that a minimum of five PCs was necessary for Volume Licensing, the fact of the matter was that two machines were more than enough.

The misconception comes from the fact that Microsoft sets a minimum number of five licenses that need to be purchased by business customers as a part of their Volume Licensing agreement. However, the Redmond company doesn’t specify in what manner users will deploy the software they licensed.

“Both the Open License and Open Value licensing programs require a minimum order of five (5); however, it is not 5 computers, it is 5 Licenses (for Open License) or 5 Licenses+Software Assurance or Software Assurance alone (for Open Value),” Ligman stated, offering “an example of how a two computer company could easily qualify for Open License.” According to Ligman, a customer could install Windows and Office on a PC and Windows and Office plus Streets and Trips on a second machine in order to qualify for a Volume License agreement. More »