Microsoft's Imagine Cup Shines on Next Generation of Developers

Microsoft named the latest winners of its Imagine Cup competition that brings out the best and brightest student developers to compete for notoriety.

Microsoft Imagine Cup

Microsoft recently announced the winners of its 12thMicrosoft Imagine Cup competition for student technologists, developers and aspiring entrepreneurs from across the globe.

Held for the first time in Seattle on both the University of Washington campus and the Microsoft headquarters, the Imagine Cup is a cornerstone of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative. Over the past 12 years the Imagine Cup has empowered more than 1.7 million students worldwide to do more and achieve more through technology.

The competition started with 33,000 students from all over the world and the finals included 125 students in 34 teams. Microsoft announced the winning team on Aug. 1.

A first place team was chosen in each of the three competition categories: Games, Innovation and World Citizenship. One of those three winning teams, Eyenaemia, was then named World Champion, taking home the Imagine Cup and receiving a private meeting with Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and technology adviser.

The winners were announced at the Imagine Cup World Championship ceremony during Microsoft’s TechReady conference at the Washington State Convention Center, in front of an audience of 5,000 students, judges, partners and Microsoft employees. The ceremony was the culmination of a weeklong event and celebrates the power of student innovation.

“There is not a business, vertical industry or person on the planet untouched by technology,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in a statement. “Imagine Cup empowers students to hack tough problems, while learning and building off the work of others. Student developers play a huge role in bringing new technologies to life in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Congratulations to all the competitors for their hard work and creativity.”

Indeed, “We are the original student developer company and the original tools company,” Nadella said, referring to co-founder Bill Gates launching Microsoft during his era as a student at Harvard and focusing on developer needs. “We live in a time where we can imagine the impossible and make it probable.”

“This is all about giving young people access to the tools and capabilities to make the world a better place,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s executive vice president and general counsel, as he introduced the winners in the World Citizenship category.

“We have a long history of working with developers,” Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist at Microsoft, told eWEEK in an interview. “It’s where we started; it’s in our roots. Talk to our CEO, he started both as a developer and in developer evangelism. And we’ve always wanted to work with students and the community. We started this 12 years ago. It’s not about finding the next great app; it’s about having a great conversation with students. What better way than having a contest that’s global, that’s fun, that’s something we enjoy and is something they can enjoy.”

Also announced was the expansion of the Imagine Cup program to make it available for even younger students worldwide who have the desire to create and code using Microsoft technology. Through the Imagine Cup program, students are empowered to dream big, build creatively, learn through competition and boldly bring their ideas to life as they gain lifelong career skills throughout their journey.