Microsoft is countering the free software movement with “nearly free” software (announced by Bill Gates in April 2007). This in addition to their many other efforts to stymie the free software providers. The New York Times has a good article “Software by Microsoft Is Nearly Free for the Needy.” The writer suggests, and fairly, as you might suspect, that once a young user gets used to Microsoft software, they’ll become a lifetime user. So at $3 per installation, that’s a tiny “marketing” expense to Microsoft, which will eventually reap much more from these potential MS customers.
It’s called the Microsoft Student Innovation Suite.
C|Net news also reports on Bill Gates’ speech in Beijing, entitled “Microsoft aims to reach next billion PC users.” The software bundle includes Windows (XP Starter Edition), Office Home and Student 2007, Windows Live Mail Desktop and several educational products. To be eligible, a government must pay for at least 50% of the cost of the PC involved.
BBC News reported (19 April 2007) “Microsoft aims to double PC base.” They report “Governments will be required to provide free computers to schools, capable of running Windows, to be eligible for the discounted software.”
You know that these efforts were given additional impetus by (or according to some were direct ripoffs of) the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program. Nick Negroponte talked about OLPC at TED (video) in February 2006.
AMD and Intel have been aggressively-competitive for years, and both companies have announced initiatives to put inexpensive computers in the hands of students in developing nations. Intel’s Classmate is their entry (at $400) and AMD has announced its 50×15 program (50% of schools by 2015).
Now, the trick is to get the cost of the computer itself down with reach. At $50, a reconditioned computer might be affordable many places, if reconditioned computers can be made available. At $400 the Intel Classmate is pricier, but can run Windows and its associates gizmos.
Leave a Reply