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Microsoft is bundling a free copy of Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN together with its ¥173,250 Claudia figure – or as Microsoft would have it, buyers of their VS2010 bundle also get a charming figure of Azure mascot Claudia Madobe.

The limited edition Claudia figure will stand 15-20cm high, is made of PVC/resin as with similar bishoujo figures, each is individually numbered, and orders close at the end of June.

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No pictures of the figure have been released, but given its price and the temperament of fans, if Microsoft is sensitive to their needs it will doubtless be a high quality effort (to say nothing of the fact Microsoft staff themselves seem to love their charming moe mascots).

Some junk goods (bags, umbrellas, a bicycle) are also being raffled off with the package, but buyers are guaranteed their figure.

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For those not familiar with her, Claudia Madobe (“Cloud Girl”) is Microsoft’s official anthropomorphisation/mascot character for its Azure “cloud” computing platform, the half-American sister character to the rather successful and undeniably appealing Windows 7 mascot Nanami Madobe.

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Her first appearance was in her own manga series explaining the advantages of the Azure platform to inferior competing cloud computing environments or the archaic practice of running physical servers, which should tell anyone all they need to know about Japanese developers.

Claudia and Nanami have also been joined by Microsoft Taiwan’s enthusiastically deployed Silverlight mascot Hikaru.

Claudia is perhaps alone in actually being more famous online than the product she represents, now boasting her own portfolio of manga, wallpapers, and even calendars:

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Online, the figure had rather more impact than the software, leading otaku to the understandable conclusion that Microsoft was selling a “¥170,000 figure of Claudia” and even causing some of her more ardent fans to wonder if they would be kind enough to leave out the useless software bundled with it…


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