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Microsoft offers upgrade deal for developers

Users of standard version of Visual Studio 2008 or 2005 can upgrade to the new version for $299 for a limited time. Also, Visual Studio 2010 Professional will come with a 1-year trial version of MSDN.

Microsoft announced on Tuesday two new programs for those looking to move to its next generation of developer tools software.

First, the company said that the retail version of Visual Studio 2010 Professional will come with a one-year trial version of its MSDN program, known as MSDN Essentials. Though they won't get access to as full a range of free Microsoft software, MSDN Essentials subscribers will get access to Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, and SQL Server 2008 Datacenter R2 for development and test use, along with 20 hours of Windows Azure use.

Microsoft also announced a limited-time program allowing those using the standard edition of either Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2005 to upgrade to Visual Studio 2010 Professional for $299. Microsoft isn't offering a "standard" version of the new tools, with the product coming in professional, premium, and ultimate editions.

"Many of you have asked what this meant for Standard Edition customers looking to upgrade," Developer division head S. Somasegar said in a blog posting. "Today, I'm announcing our Standard Offer promotion to ensure current Standard Edition customers can easily and affordably move up to Visual Studio 2010. The Standard Offer enables customers who purchased Visual Studio 2005 or 2008 Standard Edition to upgrade to Visual Studio 2010 at the previous Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition $299 retail price."

The offer will run from April 12 through October 12, Somasegar said.

Originally slated to launch in March, Microsoft said in December that the Visual Studio 2010 would be delayed by a few weeks.

Visual Studio 2010 adds support for Windows 7 and Windows Azure, as well as a new, TiVo-like featurethat allows developers to see how and why an application under development is crashing.