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Microsoft Kicks Off “Nerd Olympics”, Mentions Cloud and Windows 8

Microsoft has kicked off the annual Imagine Cup in New York City where students and their teams from all around the world compete in what is unofficially called the “Nerd Olympics.” During the event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked about the cloud and made a brief mention about the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

Consider it the olympics for techies. The competition categories includes software design, game design, interoperability, and digital media.

The 2011 Imagine Cup takes place between July 8th and July 13th. Here is a description of the event straight from Microsoft: “The Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. Microsoft created the Imagine Cup nine years ago with the idea that students can and will change the world. The Imagine Cup competition spans one year, beginning with local, regional, and online contests in over 100 countries/regions. The finalists go on to attend the Worldwide Finals held in a different country every year. The competition brings students together, provides resources and opportunities for students to innovate on the latest technologies, and provides new friendships that last well beyond the competition itself.”

At the event, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer talked about the cloud and how much of an important factor it will be in our daily computing lives. “The cloud is, I think, probably a bigger deal still than most people even in our industry think. When you use the word “cloud” some people roll their eyes and say, the cloud is the Internet, that’s not a big idea. The cloud is bigger than that.”

Ballmer also talked about how the company’s cloud services are tying together the desktop operating system, mobile operating system, Xbox, and bing platforms. “We are really in the process of redesigning the whole way in which applications get constructed, and managed, and deployed. And the ability to reduce the amount of cost and complexity in the management and deployment of applications to free up capacity to focus in on invention and innovation in the applications themselves makes the cloud a tremendously big deal.”

Ballmer even mentioned Windows 8 during his keynote and stated how important and exciting it will be. “Hey, what’s Windows 8? How do we drive it? What do we make happen? What are the key phenomena? When do we get to release it? How do we make it better, and better and better? Yes, there are some other guys we compete with. Boom we’ve got to do better, and better, and better, and better, and better. It’s pretty exciting, pretty exciting stuff.”

Microsoft is eager to tap into the minds of these young participants. As an incentive, Microsoft is giving all finalists a free Kinect.

You can read the full transcript of Ballmer’s speech here.

Here is a video from Reuters that showcases Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talking about the event:

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