It's a vendor-specific training course for a vendor-specific development/operational environment. Over the course of history, many enlightened salespeople have understood that free training courses (note: free "training courses", not free "education") improve brand awareness and market share.
I fail to see the problem. Of course Microsoft gets something out of this deal. So? Brand awareness and market share are just as important for many of the academic partners,why do you think they are offering these MOOC courses?
Every edX course has to be evaluated on its own merits anyway. What is wrong with Microsoft offering a C# language course next to Java and Python courses from other sources?
And they picked as their provider a company that has a list of many thousands of students, but who are themselves playing second fiddle to their competitors -- ie. Coursera and Udacity.
You are of course entitled to your own opinion, but I rate edX much higher than Coursera and Udacity. Better platform, and generally much better courses. And Udacity is in practice not free.
I do not believe in the corporate sponsorship of education. A teacher cannot be a billboard.
Then you're also in favour of demolishing the William Gates building at several universities http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... I suppose? Purity is very nice, but in the real world some compromises are necessary now and then.