High school students are now able to access and download professional Microsoft Corp. software such as Visual Studio and XNA Game Studio for free, a service that has been offered to higher-education students for the past year through DreamSpark.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced the expansion to high school students March 26 at the Government Leaders Forum – Americas, which took place in Leesburg, Va.

DreamSpark provides the most advanced programming and development tools that students can use, Gates said, offering all of the capabilities that professionals have. Having access to these tools is intended to inspire students to eventually create companies...

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