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Microsoft: 1 Billion More Users, & Software Suite at $3
engine




msg:3316325
 11:54 pm on Apr 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Microsoft Corp., trying to meet its goal of doubling the number of computer users to 2 billion by 2015, promised to cut its software prices to governments in developing countries that provide free computers to school children.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced the program at a news conference in Beijing on Thursday.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said it plans to offer a software package called Microsoft Student Innovation Suite for $3 to governments purchasing and giving Windows-based computer to primary and secondary students.

Microsoft: 1 Billion More Users, & Software Suite at $3 [reuters.com]

 

skibum




msg:3316407
 2:26 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Maybe the Gates foundation could spring for the computers too? Google probably will be more than happy to give em' free access to it's online office suite and maybe even free net acces by that time.

If they can give away their products to college students in the US where the per capita income is ~ $43,444 it seems like it should be free to someone in the 3rd world where the per capita income is often less than $1000/yr.

vincevincevince




msg:3316473
 4:14 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's shameful the way in which they try to force their way into emerging markets. By bribing governments in countries with widespread poverty into using windows software they then force companies in those countries to puchase full priced windows software. I hope the UN steps in and forces Microsoft to give the discount as cash per any computer to be used against any software from any provider.

blaze




msg:3316500
 5:10 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd be interested in seeing the correlation to the gates foundation generosity per capital to countries and those countries purchases per capita purchases of student innovation suite.

koan




msg:3316512
 5:31 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's the old pusher trick, sell your sample for free and when they can't live without it, set it back to the full price.

The third world would be better off with a solution that has no nasty suprise at the end, such as linux.

incrediBILL




msg:3316526
 5:42 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

a solution that has no nasty suprise at the end, such as linux

Linux has a nasty surprise, it tends to get hacked unless you know what you're doing.

wildbest




msg:3316551
 7:01 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said it plans to offer a software package called Microsoft Student Innovation Suite for $3 to governments purchasing and giving Windows-based computer to primary and secondary students.

Did they say students? Do they know what a student is?

Students are people that study... They are very curious creatures and they really try hard to understand how stuff works. It's just the opposite of what MS is trying to achieve. Students are trying to understand what is in the black box (that's why they're students, right?) while MS is trying to hide it using all their might!

There is a principal contradiction of what both sides try to achieve. That's why there is no future in such a relationship, unless one of the sides changes its primary goal! Do you think students will stop to be students?

incrediBILL




msg:3316572
 7:41 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

MS is trying to hide it using all their might!

What in the heck are you talking about?

What exactly is MS trying to hide?

sullen




msg:3316591
 8:02 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

what are you lot on about?

word processors are hardly addictive.

I think it's about time MS offered free or extremely low cost software to schools - in developing and developed countries. Because the thing is, MS is already an industry standard in some things and students taught with other software are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting a job.

Incredibill, I think Wildbest is referring to the current court cases in which people are trying to force MS to "open up" its code. In order to make hackers' lives easier presumably. I don't really see how it's relevant to students in developing countries though.

iThink




msg:3316697
 10:56 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It is a good move but I have a few problems with the cheap software offered by Microsoft. Mostly the cheap/discounted software offered by MS lacks the features of full priced products. MS came out with discounted/cheaper version of Windows XP some time back and it came with the restriction that only 4 programs can be opened at any given time on the PC using that version of Windows. Needless to say, I'm yet to see any school or individual using that cheaper version of Windows. To me that was just a way of getting some free space in media or say PR. People tend to use only the full-priced version or the pirated software. Both of them are easily available depending on what one can afford to buy. So why bother with software with limited capability?

bakedjake




msg:3316797
 1:36 pm on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's shameful the way in which they try to force their way into emerging markets.

Giving discounts to fuel market growth isn't a shameful thing. They've admitted that they're doing this to grow their business.

From the article:

"This is not a philanthropic effort, this is a business," Orlando Ayala, senior vice president at Microsoft's emerging segments market development group in an interview before the official announcement.

The casino gives me free hotel rooms and food to get me gambling at their casino and to keep coming back. Is that shameful? Sounds like marketing.

Microsoft's giving a discount to first time buyers of their product. Sounds like good business to me.

Students are trying to understand what is in the black box (that's why they're students, right?) while MS is trying to hide it using all their might!

Oh shut up already. At the end of the day, 99% of the students want a word processor that can write and format their papers for them, a browser that they can use to check their myspace accounts with, and an email client they can use to arrange plans. They couldn't give a damn about how the software works as long as it does so.

wildbest




msg:3316975
 4:29 pm on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Oh shut up already. At the end of the day, 99% of the students want a word processor that can write and format their papers for them, a browser that they can use to check their myspace accounts with, and an email client they can use to arrange plans. They couldn't give a damn about how the software works as long as it does so.

1. Looks like Google Apps would do the job for 99% of the students! ;)

2. You just miss my point! The rest of 1% who care are those that setup the software fashion. They are the decision makers that define how software will look like in future.

3. At the end of the day, MS are caught between hard rock and hammer and there is no way out until they open up the black box!

voices




msg:3317580
 11:52 am on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

What about cutting prices over here? Anyone that is worth 50 billion dollars must be charging too much for their software.

vincevincevince




msg:3317656
 2:50 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Growing your business is one thing, doing it on the back of some of the poorest countries in the world is quite another. These are countries struggling to move ahead, and hanging the future license prices of Microsoft products around their neck is going to make that even harder than it already is.

bill




msg:3317941
 11:27 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Growing your business is one thing, doing it on the back of some of the poorest countries in the world is quite another.

You're kidding right? Microsoft is offering a software package at reduced prices... And that's bad for developing countries?

These are countries struggling to move ahead, and hanging the future license prices of Microsoft products around their neck is going to make that even harder than it already is.

Oh, so it would be better to let them work with second rate open source alternatives rather than let them use what the rest of the world does? That should really help the next generation pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

Look, the free alternatives to MS products are already out there for the taking. If people want to use them then that's just fine. Bashing MS for offering reduced cost software which will help children learn in underdeveloped areas is a bit manic to me.

fischermx




msg:3318044
 4:19 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

As a person living in one of those poor countries, I feel a real shame for all the people claiming a discount for the USA as well.

And I do see that move as a good thing. We've been waiting that for years.

Habtom




msg:3318154
 9:45 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

For some reason, I feel Linux seems more appropriate for students than Microsoft.

gibbergibber




msg:3318499
 11:38 pm on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

--You're kidding right? Microsoft is offering a software package at reduced prices... And that's bad for developing countries?--

It is bad if it's a product they don't need. It's especially bad when these are countries that can't even guarantee their population a non-lethal water supply.

As someone said, things like Open Office and Google Docs can do pretty much everything that 99% of these students need, but they're free.

Why should the poorest people on earth be paying for something like Office when they could be using something free instead?

bill




msg:3318536
 12:50 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

It is bad if it's a product they don't need.

Who's to say whether they need this software? If it's so unnecessary then naturally nobody will buy it and all of the free alternatives will reign supreme. That's the way markets and business works.

However, a familiarity with Microsoft operating systems and software, which the vast overwhelming majority of global corporations use, could be a step up the employment ladder for many. Sure it may not be the deciding factor, but it could help. Why criticize MS for offering the option at lower prices?

Regardless, as quoted above, MS isn't doing this for philanthropy. It's a business move. They're selling software, not promising to fix the world's ills. Sounds pretty straight-forward to me.

bakedjake




msg:3318854
 1:54 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why should the poorest people on earth be paying for something like Office when they could be using something free instead?

As bill said, whatever is "free" isn't working. Whatever is "free" is already out there. If the potential consumers of this new Microsoft product wanted the "free" alternatives, they'd have them already. And saying that software is "free" is an ignorant statement anyways in the context of cost. Nothing is "free", unless you don't value your time.

The tenacity that people show when defending free alternatives and berating Microsoft is surprising to me. If I told you that you could have an Aston Martin for $3, or a Pinto for free, what would you take?

I love open source software. I think it has a place in the world, for sure. But these people need an edge, and that edge in software comes from Microsoft, because 98% of the rest of the world runs Microsoft software.

If a person walked through my door at this moment, and had zero MS Office experience, and 100% OpenOffice experience, that would be a major negative to me during the hiring process. And I'm on a Mac!

But, politics aside, this is a very good move for Microsoft. Decreasing the price of your software by two orders of magnitude to gain marketshare in developing countries is brilliant. And if I were them, I'd double prices in the US and the EU... but they can't do that, due to socialist anti-trust policies in most of the western world.

Josefu




msg:3319738
 8:45 am on Apr 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's shameful the way in which they try to force their way into emerging markets.

...but emerging markets is the entire foundation of Microsoft! Or rather, the ignorant in the same. What OS will a first-time computer user use? - The one present in the computer when he first turns it on. When it comes time to update, what OS will he buy?

Most every PC sold since thirty years has windows pre-installed or pre-packaged... go figure.

Many American and European countries are catching on - but developing coutries are a whole new potential wave of (the same sort of) fortune.

[edited by: Josefu at 8:54 am (utc) on April 24, 2007]

timster




msg:3322399
 12:53 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

You're kidding right? Microsoft is offering a software package at reduced prices... And that's bad for developing countries?

This sort of thing often is. Microsoft is being up front that this is a loss-leader business decision. They're counting of future revenues.

It reminds me of a story of social workers asking for wheelbarrows for a village, but received tractors. You can't sell someone gas and parts if you give them a wheelbarrow.

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