updated 02:41 pm EDT, Fri May 18, 2012
Annual promotion starts May 20 in US, today in Canada
In an effort to push new PC sales, Microsoft is launching it's annual back-to-school Xbox promotion. Starting May 20 in the United States, purchasers of Windows 7 PCs worth more than $699 can receive a 4GB Xbox 360 console for free. Canadian purchasers can buy today, and spend $599 or more to get the same Xbox. End dates vary according to participating retailers' guidelines.
While last year's only participating retail partner for the promotion was Best Buy, Microsoft has expanded the offer to Dell.com, Fry's Electronics, HPDirect.com, Microsoft retail stores, and Newegg.com in the United States. Canadian retailers participating include Best Buy, Dell.ca, Future Shop, Staples, and The Source.
Students must confirm their status by presenting a student ID, or by possession of a valid .edu email address. Recipients will be given the low-end 4GB "slim" Xbox.
Details for redemption of the free Xbox vary per store and are not set by Microsoft beyond qualifying price. Microsoft retail stores are honoring the giveaway at point of sale. An Electronista spot check by telephone with three different Best Buy stores in the United States had mixed results--two stores confirmed limited in-store availability of the Xboxes and weren't sure what would happen when the stock ran out. One Best Buy claimed that there would be vouchers for mail-away printed with the computer purchase.
The student Xbox offer comes on the heels of a subsidized offer. Microsoft retail stores will take $99 up front and a two-year commitment to Xbox live at $15 per month in exchange for a 4GB Xbox with Kinect, access to Xbox live, and a two-year warranty.