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Windows Vista, Microsoft Office for US$3 as part of push for Unlimited Potential
Posted on 19-Apr-2007 23:04 | Tags Filed under: News

Microsoft's new plan to increase technology adoption in developing countries is to partner with governments and offer a software bundle for mere US$3.

Through the Partners in Learning program, Microsoft have announced the Microsoft Student Innovation Suite, a software package for governments purchasing and giving Windows-based PCs to primary and secondary students for their personal use at home and for schoolwork. The education suite includes Windows XP Starter Edition, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, Microsoft Math 3.0, Learning Essentials 2.0 for Microsoft Office, and Windows Live Mail desktop.

The announcement is part of a package Microsoft Corp. unveiled to help close the digital divide by creating new products and programs that will help bring social and economic opportunity to the estimated five billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology.

Through the expansion of Microsoft Unlimited Potential, the company is renewing and accelerating its commitment to use technology, training and partnerships to transform education, foster local innovation, and enable jobs and opportunities to sustain a continuous cycle of social and economic growth for everyone.

Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft says the expansion of Unlimited Potential will focus on three areas: education, innovation, and jobs and economic opportunity.

“Computers and connectivity are still too expensive for private ownership by the poor, and applications as well as information resources that are appropriate to this group have been slow to emerge, in part because the poor themselves have not been involved in creating them,” said C.K. Prahalad, author and professor at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. “In order to help create the applications and start the business dynamo that unleashes their potential, the people at the bottom of the pyramid need to have reliable, affordable access to technology and to learn computing skills.”

The company also announced plans to extend its resource commitment to Microsoft Innovation Centers over the next two years and anticipates opening and supporting 200 centers in an additional 25 countries by 2009. The current network of 110 centers serves 100 communities in 60 nations by providing local software communities with a comprehensive set of programs and services to expand work-force skills, create jobs, strengthen innovation and improve competitiveness. In partnership with local governments, educational institutions and businesses, Microsoft’s resource investments provide software development assistance, business skills training, employment training, employment programs for students, and market incubation for the local startup community.

Microsoft also announced an alliance with the Asian Development Bank to work together to enhance the competitiveness and sustainable economic development of the Asia-Pacific region by supporting and building technological and innovation capacity; promoting the development of applied research and entrepreneurship; and improving the efficiency, transparency and accountability of public administration at the national and local levels. Additional areas of cooperation include improving the use of technology in the teaching and learning process; providing jobs and opportunities, with the aim of reducing the digital divide between and within countries; and improving systems and standards of trade and economic cooperation across the Asia-Pacific region.

Also announced were five new Partnerships for Technology Access (PTAs) programs in Argentina, Botswana, Chile, China and Egypt. Each PTA program combines the know-how and resources of governments, technology companies, banks and nongovernmental organizations to help increase access to PCs and use technology to build economic and social opportunity within developing economies and other underserved parts of the world. These five new programs are a just a few of the 50 new PTA programs now in various stages worldwide.

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