Microsoft giving away Windows, Office in effort to extend Dark Ages of Personal Computing

Apple Store“In an effort to expand its global reach in computing, Microsoft plans to offer a stripped-down version of Windows, Office and other software for $3 to people in developing nations,” Steve Lohr reports for The New York Times. “The program is being announced in Beijing today by Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates.”

“The Microsoft push comes as a nonprofit project, One Laptop per Child, plans this year to start producing machines priced at about $150 — with a goal of reaching $100 — that will run a version of Linux. Several countries, including Argentina, Brazil and Nigeria, have made tentative commitments to distribute the laptops to millions of schoolchildren,” Lohr reports.

“Microsoft has offered discounted versions of Windows selectively in the past, to a few developing nations like Malaysia and Thailand, priced at $30 or less. But the new program, called Microsoft Unlimited Potential, goes further with more software and deeper price cuts and extends to all developing nations, said Microsoft’s senior vice president for emerging markets, Orlando Ayala,” Lohr reports.

“Under the program, Microsoft would make its discounted software available for installation on computers that would typically be sold to national, state or local governments, which would then distribute the PCs to individuals. The price of the machines, Microsoft said, would depend on PC makers and what hardware features were included. Industry analysts said basic machines with the $3 Microsoft bundle of programs could be priced at $300 or less. The standard retail price of the software in the $3 bundle, including Windows XP Starter Edition and Office Home and Office 2007, would be about $150,” Lohr reports.

“There are about a billion PC users worldwide, mainly in developed nations. The initial goal of the Microsoft program, working with many industry partners, would be to add another billion PC users by 2015, Mr. Ayala said,” Lohr reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The poor always get crapped on. Microsoft continues its quest to keep the world mired in the Dark Ages of Personal Computing for as long as possible. While the misguided ignoramuses of the world will probably fall all over themselves heaping praise upon dealer Gates, the fact is what he’s really saying is, “The first one’s free, kid.”

“One Laptop Per Child” really blew it when they failed to accept Steve Jobs’ generous offer of Mac OS X for no cost, but at least they were smart enough to steer clear of Windows.

Related articles:
‘One Laptop Per Child’ project announces 4 million pre-orders – August 01, 2006
Apple’s Jobs offered Mac OS X free to $100 laptop developers, declined because it’s not open source – November 14, 2005


  1. @ DudeMac,

    I was under the impression Linux was free, as was OpenOffice?

    (300% of zero is zero…..

    $3 is 300% of $1 !)

    Not meaning to be petty or ‘owt, i could have misunderstood you.


  2. What bother me about linux on these “One Laptop Per Child” computers is, within few years, the kids from third world may become more computer literate than kids in US learning computer on Windows.

  3. Look at the means of distribution, here. The individual is DEAD LAST in Microsoft’s thought process. The governments here also don’t care about the individual (as if governments ever care about anything except expanding their own power). They’re giving away these things like the way despots make media circuses out of distributing rotting food. Everyone acts magnanimous but no-one is helped. What a joke.

  4. Monopolysoft has nothing to offer but fear of incompatibility with Office to maintain its De Facto stranglehold on the world’s computers.

    I have no doubt the primary reason so many windows users fear switching is not so much moving from Windows operating system itself, but having compatibility problems with Office docs.

    Monopolysoft knows this and so is giving Office away to head off the open standards movement that will ultimately spell its irrelevancy.

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