If you think Microsoft went totally nuts and decreased the price of retail version of Windows XP to $3, read further, and you’ll see it’s not exactly what the announcement implies. Microsoft’s new strategy which should spread the usage of Windows in 3rd World countries is a lot closer to this: The firm wants to bring computing to a further one billion people by 2015. Governments in developing countries can purchase the cut-price software, if they provide free PCs for schools.
The Microsoft initiative was launched by Bill Gates in Beijing under the banner of its ‘Unlimited Potential’ scheme, a program aimed at bridging the digital divide. The scheme aims to bring the benefit of computing technology to the remaining five sixths of the world’s population, who currently live without it.
“Bringing the benefits of technology to the next five billion people will require new products that meet the needs of underserved communities,” said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. One of the first products, that is hoped will reach the next billion people is the Microsoft’s student Innovation Suite. The package includes Windows XP Starter Edition, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, as well as other educational software. The $3 package will start to be sold to governments in the second half of 2007. “This is not a philanthropic effort, this is a business,” Orlando Ayala of Microsoft told the Reuter’s news agency.
In many developing countries, pirated versions of Microsoft software are sold dirt cheap. Governments will be required to provide free computers to schools, capable of running Windows, to be eligible for the discounted software. It’s a real kick in the pants that Microsoft isn’t going to offer this price to common users. I’m sure many endusers would invest the 3 bucks to extinguish those annoying “genuine windows validation” popups!