Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Education The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Takes On the OLPC 218

Posted by kdawson
from the close-to-free dept.
A number of readers sent us links to a BBC story on Microsoft's plan to provide the "Microsoft Student Innovation Suite" for $3 to governments around the world, for use in schools. The suite contains Windows XP Starter Edition and Windows Office Home and Student 2007, along with other educational software. To qualify, a government would have to provide free PCs to schools. Microsoft's stated goal is to double the number of PCs in use (and running Windows). An unbiased observer might wonder about an agenda of slowing the OLPC project and the spread of open source in general.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Takes On the OLPC

Comments Filter:
  • XP - Why not Vista? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:24AM (#18799693)
    Hardware requirements? Need to dump old 'inventory' for a tax break? No compelling features?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by r_jensen11 (598210)
      Probably so they can collect X*$3 on Jan 1, 2009 from all of the "upgrades."
    • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:49AM (#18800143) Journal
      Okay, OS+Software for $3. But the school has to provide free PCs to the schools using the deal. Sooooo...where does the PC come from? Or am I not supposed to not ask that question and just blindly applaud Micro$oft for their generous offer?

      Any old $200 to $300 PC will work, right? Oh, wait, the OLPC is currently $150, or something like that.

      Eh.
      • by Rukie (930506) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:13PM (#18800583) Homepage Journal
        A think a fear of the OLPC is a little compatibility. Governments might spend a little more, 200, for a PC. M$ is definitely in fear of the OLPC, Linux, and Macintosh. If they can get em while they're young, M$ will have created a market in which they dominate entirely. M$ is afraid, and they want to crush the "uprising" of open source. So, how will they do this? Just create an even smaller percentage of "linux" and "mac" users by giving out the OS for three bucks. What does that cover, the cd, shipping, and a slight profit.
        I still think the OLPC is a better idea. Cheaper, and less likely to crash.
        • MS just needs to release an .iso of a patched, tarted up Win2000 for free, and they would accomplish much.
        • by Rohan427 (521859)
          Don't forget that the PC that must be purchased for the classroom will come with an operating system, most likely Windows Vista. So, M$ still makes money from the PC sale, and they increase market share by programming the students to use only M$ products. It's a win-win for M$ and a lose-lose for everyone else.

          Such evil geniuses there at M$. (Then again, it doesn't take much to pull the wool over the eyes of the general public, let alone a government)

          PGA
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by griffjon (14945)
          Also, remember that M$ has a few test units of the OLPC, and the OLPC design itself was altered to include a PCMCIA slot at M$'s request. Could be they're just getting ready to replace the SugarUI on all of the OLPC units (given/donated freely ... by governments) to schools. Boy, would /that/ suck, just when I thought we might break the M$ monopoly - at least for the next generation?

          At least this is better than the SchoolNet Namibia story a few years back, when M$ donated Office, but not the OS, leading t
        • by mangu (126918) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @04:56PM (#18804941)
          giving out the OS for three bucks. What does that cover, the cd, shipping, and a slight profit


          I don't know what kind of profit is "slight", but at that price they won't be able to compete in the free market against Third World street vendors.


          I live in Brazil, where you can buy a copy of XP for R$5, which is about US$2.50 at today's rates. This includes the CD with a plastic cover and a printed sheet with the activation key. Think of that, someone can copy a CD in his home PC and sell it at a lower price than the biggest software vendor in the world can do in a worldwide production and distribution scheme.


          If Microsoft really wanted to distribute Windows with charitable intentions, they could do it without financial loss at less than $1 per copy.

  • Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nog_lorp (896553) * on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:24AM (#18799699)
    So no Third World Countries can get MS software super cheap - just like before, but now with real licenses! Hooray. Also, they will need to spend $x more on hardware! On the otherhand, they can go with the variety of people working very hard to provide them cheap hardware and free software. Tough Choice.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Funny)

      by ShorePiper82 (1027534) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:26AM (#18799753)
      This is clearly a philanthropic move with no agenda to push whatsoever. clearly.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Ximogen (1033274)
        From the article: "This is not a philanthropic effort, this is a business," Orlando Ayala of Microsoft told the Reuter's news agency.
        • I was afraid it might be a philanthropic effort, which BG and friends are moderately-good at. Thankfully it's a business, which they suck at.*

          *footnote: that is to say, businesses in which they cannot leverage a pre-existing monopoly on the desktop. Like e.g. new PC deployments in third world countries.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Yeah, I'm not sure why anyone starting to build their infrastructure (not already locked in) would want to start with Windows. Even at $3 a copy, that's $3 more than Linux.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by walt-sjc (145127)
        The OLPC box running linux is somewhere around $100-200 depending on the phase of the moon. A minimum PC (with monitor) for running XP will be at LEAST double that, and nowhere near as durable or able to run on low power as the OLPC box. This is no threat to the OLPC program or box itself.

        Nothing to see here...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rbanffy (584143)
          You also have to factor in the energy spent running the computer (I assume it's an aging desktop PC with a CRT monitor) is much, much more than the price of the OLPC itself.

          I hope any politician that gets into this is removed from power and put in jail along with the MS exec who made the sale.
      • by lawpoop (604919)
        "Yeah, I'm not sure why anyone starting to build their infrastructure (not already locked in) would want to start with Windows. Even at $3 a copy, that's $3 more than Linux."

        Well, maybe not. If MS is providing a retail box or install CDs for $3, that might actually beat the cost of acquiring linux. Here in the US, the market is fairly saturated with CD burners and broadband, but in the 3rd world, it might cost significantly more to download and burn a CD. I'm thinking of internet cafes that I've been in Ec
  • by fotbr (855184) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:25AM (#18799711) Journal
    One could make the argument that you're not unbiased.

    However....even paranoids have enemies, and just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
    • Todd Bishop of the Seattle P.I. [nwsource.com] points this out in his blog. On one hand, Microsoft is a company in business to make money, so this makes sense. But it still leaves a foul taste when coupled with all the other cynical things they've done. This has nothing to do with "the children" or the poor, just building the next generation of consumers.
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:35AM (#18799915) Homepage Journal

      One could make the argument that you're not unbiased.
      Especially if that one had just competed in a chair-throwing contest...

      Seriously, if Microsoft's motives were entirely philanthropic, don't you think that they would use their very large and powerful cone of influence to provide these schools with some cheap hardware? I'll bet some folks at Microsoft have a few contacts at a few major OEMs who might just help them out if pressed...

      • by DerGeist (956018)

        ...use their very large and powerful cone of influence to...

        I'm afraid you're mistaken; what you're seeing there is an unmistakable cone of ignorance.

        • ...use their very large and powerful cone of influence to...

          I'm afraid you're mistaken; what you're seeing there is an unmistakable cone of ignorance.
          Is that a lower level spell than Cone of Cold?

          I'm sure there's a good Cone of Silence joke somewhere in there too, but I can't come up with it.
    • Of course it is an attempt to grab and retain marketshare by weaning people on cheap MS now in order to lock them into that in the future and make real money. They aren't doing this to feel good at night.

      When people say conspiracy, this is what they mean.
  • by simong (32944) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:25AM (#18799733) Homepage
    It innovates nothing but new ways of taking money from computer users while frustrating them in what they want to do. /2p
    • Yeah, it's a low form of cynicism: "A lie repeated often enough becomes truth - Joseph Goebbels"
    • You know, I've never been more frustrated while at the keyboard than when I first learned my way around Linux. Wading through unintelligible man pages, cryptic commands, vague error messages, hit-and-miss support via newsgroups, and different flavors of *nix, really is a pain in the ass when you are not quite sure what you are even looking for to begin with. Not that I haven't gotten frustrated with many a Microsoft product, and the 'Net has become a much better resource than it was back then, but nothing
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nomadic (141991) *
        That's true. I think I and a lot of linux users were able to get into that sort of thing more gently because we started out on school unix accounts over dial-up, or at the very least had done command line stuff via DOS previously.
    • It innovates nothing but new ways of taking money from computer users while frustrating them in what they want to do.

      In countries where the street price of Linux and Windows are essentially the same - Windows and MS Office are often the software of choice.

      The geek needs to get a handle on the notion that what users want from Windows - what users find easy to do in Windows - is not what attracts him to Linux.

      • The GP complaint, that MS won't stop beating the "innovation" drum, has nothing to do with Linux's flaws as an end-user system. I mean, OK, Microsoft does create new things. But they sell it like they were the Thomas Edison of innovation. Thomas Edison wasn't the Thomas Edison of innovation. They whine about it every time someone picks on them. "We were just being innovative, why are you giving us such a hard time?" Well, because you were being innovative dicks. They act like they should be given car
  • Unbiased observer? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cheapy (809643) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:27AM (#18799771)
    I don't understand how this "observer" would be unbiased. If he sees a grand conspiracy, he's not unbiased.
    • I don't understand how this "observer" would be unbiased. If he sees a grand conspiracy, he's not unbiased.

      First, they did not say the unbiased observer would see/think the agenda would be to slow down OLPC, they said they might wonder about that possibility. Second, the term "unbiased" has multiple connotations and meanings. You could argue no one with any opinion was unbiased (no one) but then the term has no real meaning when applied to people. You might, on the other hand, apply a meaning that unbiased is someone with no preference one way or another for or against MS, and then an objective person certainl

      • by Cheapy (809643)
        You are correct about the denotation of the sentence, however the connotation is clear. It's just a weasel-sentence to appear unbiased, yet get a point across.

        I thought about bringing up that point about "no one is truly unbiased", but that kinda makes the whole thing moot, doesn't it?

        And yes, a truly unbiased person would consider the motivations of MS. But why would this truly unbiased individual only see that they wanted to slow down the OLPC (which is the only thing the sentence brings up)? Why wouldn't
        • And yes, a truly unbiased person would consider the motivations of MS. But why would this truly unbiased individual only see that they wanted to slow down the OLPC (which is the only thing the sentence brings up)?

          Surely you don't expect them to list every idea an "unbiased" person might consider? They list one they though of interest or which was of interest to the summary author. I don't know why anyone would make a fuss about that.

          Why wouldn't they see it as Microsoft wanting to help the children out?

          They might consider it that way as well and as I read the summary that was sort of implied as the first impression an unbiased person might think of, that is to say taking MS's actions at face value as if they were a person instead of a for profit corporation.

          Yet the sentence, and I repeat, only brings up the "conspiracy" aspect of this.

          I've seen a dozen pe

    • I don't understand how this "observer" would be unbiased. If he sees a grand conspiracy, he's not unbiased.

      So, you're saying that anybody who concludes that there is a conspiracy cannot be unbiased? Geez, that reasoning would be great for criminals: "hey, the judge was obviously biased, since he found me guilty". That excuse is as frequent as it is baseless.
    • by asninn (1071320)
      That's like saying someone doing a report on, say, the Soviet Union is not unbiased because he concludes that Stalin killed a lot of people. It's not always the observer that's biased; sometimes, reality itself is.
  • Unbiased my arse. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by supabeast! (84658)
    An unbiased observer might wonder about an agenda of slowing the OLPC project and the spread of open source in general.

    No, an unbiased observer would probably see this as an extension of student discount programs Microsoft already offers or an attempt to make a little extra money from markets that currently bring in none. Only a tinfoil-hat-wearing free software zealot would wonder about an agenda of slowing the OLPC project and the spread of open source in general.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:37AM (#18799937) Homepage Journal

      Only a tinfoil-hat-wearing free software zealot would wonder about an agenda of slowing the OLPC project and the spread of open source in general.

      Are you a shill, or just incredibly stupid and/or naive?

      Microsoft has stated repeatedly that Open Source is the enemy and in so many words. If you missed that, you are simply not informed enough to be qualified to contribute to this discussion.

      Now, Microsoft is saying that they are prepared to work with Open Source. But based on Microsoft's past record of falsehood, fraud, abuse of their monopoly position, price fixing, illegal dumping and bundling, and the laundry list of other complaints, you would have to be some kind of idiot to trust them now.

      • by kjart (941720)

        Are you a shill, or just incredibly stupid and/or naive?

        Yup, only one point of view possible in the world. If people don't agree with you they are either stupid or are being paid to do so. This is getting pretty common around here. Do the proponents of OSS* need to start every argument with an ad hominem?

        *To be fair, others do as well, but "Microsoft shill" seems to be the most prevalent.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Do the proponents of OSS* need to start every argument with an ad hominem?

          Uh, what? The argument was started by an idiot claiming that anyone seeing an attack against the OLPC in this move was a "tinfoil-hat-wearing free software zealot".

          All I did was land the second blow (and knocked the motherfucker out - note how he was done after I delivered my response.)

          I gave the response that I felt was warranted given the tone of the original comment.

          Now with that said, I will readily admit that sometimes I go o

      • The OSS ppl have missed the fact that the MS fanboys have moved into slashdot...
        • They've been here ages: search for "slashdot groupthink" or "why does everyone automatically think microsoft are bad". Wouldn't have seen that sorta nonsense when I first joined.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:39AM (#18799973) Journal

      Only a tinfoil-hat-wearing free software zealot would wonder about an agenda of slowing the OLPC project and the spread of open source in general.
      Well, not exactly. Slowing the spread of open source is on Microsoft's agenda. They want to maintain or increase market share, which means preventing the loss of markets to competitors -- including open source alternatives.

      As for OLPC, I doubt they want to slow the project -- they want to make the pie bigger and OLPC will help them do that. They would, however, like to make sure that those children eventually migrate to Windows, which is where the $3 SIS comes in.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jeevesbond (1066726)

      No, an unbiased observer would probably see this as an extension of student discount programs Microsoft already offers or an attempt to make a little extra money from markets that currently bring in none.

      It's interesting that the summary only surmises what an unbiased observer might wonder, whereas you claim to speak for all unbiased observers. You are clearly a Microsoft fanboy, therefore not an unbiased observer. I don't believe it takes a 'free software zealot' to realise that this move is as a direct

    • The student discount programs Microsoft currently offers aren't some sort of noble-hearted effort to do good for all mankind. They are explicitly offered to get the consumers of tomorrow using Microsoft's products at an early age/stage. Like a free crack sample, there's no philanthropy involved.

      This offer is more of the same. Whether you believe that this is a direct response to the OLPC project or not (I do, but really it's immaterial) is not as important as recognizing that this is a direct response to th
  • by iamacat (583406) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:29AM (#18799809)
    I guess Microsoft doesn't want these schools to teach any programming classes. This bundle is great for someone just looking for a good typewriter.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I guess Microsoft doesn't want these schools to teach any programming classes. This bundle is great for someone just looking for a good typewriter.

      Step 1: Buy computers and announce intent to give them away free.

      Step 2: Accept bundle for $3/unit.

      Step 3: Distribute computers running Linux, with kvm virtual machines preloaded with Windows XP to allow running that one Windows program the user has absolutely got to have.

  • <rant>
    Maybe I'm the only one, but I'd certainly buy a copy of windows XP Starter if it was $3, or $10. I know I'm not in the majority, but for crying out loud. I build my own systems, I install Linux, and I have to make due without Windows for my gaming.

    God, if they had any sort of soul, they would give XP away once it was discontinued. Hell, give Windows 2000 away!

    Yeah, it's not OSS, but they're not making any money off of it, and if Vista were any good, it would stand and sell on it's own, withou
    • by zappepcs (820751)

      God, if they had any sort of soul, they would give XP away once it was discontinued. Hell, give Windows 2000 away!
      There is a thought: IF they had a soul? I should think that Redmond would be surrounded by Tom wannabes trying to save them. Laughable, but interesting thought.
    • Logic and reason do not exist in this place
    • Yeah, it's not OSS, but they're not making any money off of it

      The unit cost to Microsoft of XP licenses to mass purchasers is so close to nil as to be difficult to discern as existing at all, and even at $3 a license, enough licenses adds up to some money.

      And, of course, anyone buying those basic machines is going to naturally want more capable machines for teachers, servers, etc., that are compatible with them, with more capable but compatible (and, hence, Microsoft) software—which won't the same sha

      • by walt-sjc (145127)
        You are missing the fact that every single microsoft product except for Windows and Office loses money. They HAVE to charge a lot for Windows and Office to support that fact. This is why the cost of Windows and Office is going up every release - it's their only source of profit.
        • You are missing the fact that every single microsoft product except for Windows and Office loses money. They HAVE to charge a lot for Windows and Office to support that fact.


          I'm not sure whether or not that's true, but even if it is, it doesn't contradict what I said, so I'm not sure why, as I response to what I wrote, you would claim I'm missing that.

    • There's always a catch. The XP Starter edition is a seriously crippled version. It only allows 3 or 4 applications to run at once. For the average person, who runs antivirus and a firewall that means only one other application can run. It has limited networking capabilities. So there's always a catch.
  • An unbiased observer might wonder

    might...?
  • This is competition. Competition is good.
  • "An unbiased observer might wonder about an agenda of slowing the OLPC project and the spread of open source in general."

    Give me a break! Another completely irresponsible statement make it into TFA's description here on slashdot. I can see it now, Microsoft called a meeting to talk about the threat of OLPC, right after they started working more with open source (Novell). Of course the cynics will say that it was just a "keep your enemies closer" move.

    If anything, an unbiased observer would see this a
    • If anything, an unbiased observer would see this as a good thing, maybe the best thing possible

      I don't think that word means what you think it means.
  • Of course, if we ignore the fact that $3 is a full time employed person's monthly salary in many of the developing countries, especially in africa.
    • A month's salary is probably a gross exagerration, at least in the parts of Africa I have been to (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda). It is more like like 2-3 days salary. Still a lot but not as much as you make it out to be and certainly an extremely small percentage of the total cost of the system.
  • An unbiased observer might wonder about an agenda of slowing the OLPC project and the spread of open source in general.

    An unbiased observer would see that Microsoft is trying to make its software available to those that might not otherwise be able to afford it. An unbiased observer might wonder if Microsoft is trying to be competative with one of it's biggest competators.

    Seriously, what's wrong with you people. If Microsoft continued charging third world students $400 for it's operating system, there'd

  • by Endo13 (1000782) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:38AM (#18799961)
    Finally we find out the *real* value of Windows and Office: about $2.75, leaving another twenty-five cents to cover the "other educational software."

    Sounds about right to me.
  • Taking on Edubuntu (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coryoth (254751) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:41AM (#18800007) Homepage Journal
    A better comparison than OLPC might be with Edubuntu [edubuntu.org] since we're talking about providing software to run computer labs. And Microsoft does have something to worry about here -- Edubuntu is steadily improving alongside Ubuntu, and as a simple and easy way to set up an educational computer lab it is almost unparalleled. Not only does it have an easy to set up terminal server system, but it comes with a large array of educational applications out of the box. That makes it a very attractive option, as you get a complete lab setup and educational application suite shipped to you for free. Between this and OLPC I suspect MS is starting to worry about its position in developing countries where children are going to increasingly grow up largely using Linux in one form or another.
  • But Microsoft is due to phase out XP by the end of this year.

    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/04/12/049248 &from=rss [slashdot.org]

    So does this mean they will push out XP to schools then not support it?
    • by SEMW (967629)

      But Microsoft is due to phase out XP by the end of this year. So does this mean they will push out XP to schools then not support it?
      "Phase out" means they're not going to sell it any more, not they're not going to support it. IIRC, XP mainstream support (i.e. service packs) sends in 2009, and extended support (i.e. security patches only) end in 2014.
  • by strredwolf (532) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:53AM (#18800215) Homepage Journal
    Okay, that's $3 per PC, but you have to bring your own PC... which is, what, $500 w/o case, keyboard, mouse, or monitor? Mini-itx.com and damnsmalllinux.org have $110 EPIA 5000 boards, but $110 is $10 more than the famed $100 OLPC and you still have to get memory, storage, power, case, keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

    The OLPC you get all the hardware, all the software, for a very very low price.

    If you're a struggling country, what would you get? A $100-per-unit all-in-one, or $500-or-more-plus-three-bucks-per-unit system that does the same thing?

    Come on, Microsoft! We've already done cheaper than that! ETRYAGAIN.
    • by laffer1 (701823)
      $500 seems a bit high. Maybe if you are talking about laptops, but you mention keyboards and monitors so I don't think you are. Not to mention, computer sales to third world countries are probably cheaper due to cost of living changes, etc. Its not retail at a best buy or dell.com in the US or even the prices in europe. I can build a PC for much less than $500 just using newegg.com and I can probably buy an OEM license of windows in that price. (much more than $3)

      Also consider that $3 is a lot of money
  • Groan (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Grashnak (1003791)
    Wow, what a completely unbiased article. Just maybe, it could have been titled, "MS practically gives away software to poor people in poor countries" rather than "MS SUX, LINUX PWNS", or whatever the hell the actual title really meant.
    • by MadJo (674225)
      Which title do you mean. The title of the Slashdot discussion? "Microsoft takes on the OLPC"
      Or the BBC title? "Microsoft aims to double PC base"
      First one means: "Microsoft starts a fight with the One Laptop Per Child initiative"
      The second one means "Microsoft is trying to double its marketshare on the PC market"

      And you have to be bloody blind not to see the alterior motive behind it. Because it's a little too close to the release date of the OLPC, Microsoft could've done this years ago!

      Granted the title isn
  • I thought the OLPC project was based on getting the hardware cost below US$100. Obviously, the cost of the software is not an issue since it is all based on volunteer work and even the distro was compiled by donated time and effort.

    So, Microsoft is offering nothing. According to the article, the governments have to figure out how to buy and configure the hardware themselves. Only then can the governments purchase Windows and Office to put on the computers they have already bought.

    Oh, wait . . .

  • If the figures in the linked article http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=096 AC51E-EE83-413C-B32A-A4FFDE598E9F [cbronline.com] are close to being accurate then MS are losing $18.5 on each sale (this is without the addition of the cost of development & manufacture). Selling into markets at below cost is called "dumping" and is usually sanctioned. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumping_(pricing_poli cy) [wikipedia.org]
    What makes MS a special case? Nothing.
  • An unbiased observer might wonder

    I think not even an unbiased [ thus non-existing :) ] observer would wonder these days. We all know all participants too well, sadly.
     
  • I am surprised /. folks are so cynical about this move by Microsoft. After all, OLPC is *all about the children*, isn't it? I mean OLPC isn't just a component of some religious war on Microsoft, is it? Because I thought OLPC was about giving tools to those who needed them so they could lift themselves up out of poverty. This move by Microsoft does exactly that, just as OLPC does. Now, is this simply a response to the OLPC program? If it is, then once again we see clear evidence that competition is a much be
    • I am surprised /. folks are so cynical about this move by Microsoft.

      Why would you be surprised.

      After all, OLPC is *all about the children*, isn't it?

      Well, no, its all about human development. Its not all about "the children", though its centers on them.

      I mean OLPC isn't just a component of some religious war on Microsoft, is it?

      Nope.

      Because I thought OLPC was about giving tools to those who needed them so they could lift themselves up out of poverty.

      Yup.

      This move by Microsoft does exactly that, just as OL

    • OLPC has designed a laptop that better fits the infrastructure of the developing world. In order for this suite to work, it will need to be on a industry standard (or pretty darn close cousin) PC (laptop or other). IMO, if Microsoft really wanted to accomplish the same goals as the OLPC team, they would have provided additional monetary support for that initiative.

      I believe this can only be seen as one thing: Microsoft undercutting its typical pricing model to reach market segments where it has no hope
      • HOWEVER, it begs another question for us in the West: If Microsoft can make this suite available to the developing world for only $3, why not make it available in the US (and other western markets) for only $25, or even $50.

        Differential pricing on the Microsoft product line is often about market segmentation and getting the most out of each segment of the market, not about the costs associated with particular products. (This is particularly true when different versions with different prices are distributed

    • OLPC is a tool for learning. It's not a word processor and spreadsheet. OLPC software will come with source codel. Is Microsoft giving away the source for Word and Excel?
  • From the marketing department: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/newsroom/winxp / WinXPStarterFS.mspx [microsoft.com]

    In an effort to provide an affordable and simple introduction to personal computing, and as a result of ongoing collaborations with governments on PC access programs and increasing digital inclusion, Microsoft Corp. has developed Windows XP Starter Edition, an operating system designed for first-time PC users in developing technology markets.

    This really seems like monopoly protection. Microsoft charges non
  • by MaggieL (10193) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:53PM (#18801261)
    I guess the name of this program lets you know how much the coin of "innovation" has been debased, that this kind of stunt dares call itself "innovation".

    I do hope when MSFT and the BSA tell us how much money is lost to the scourge of piracy in the future, they price out the software in this bundle at $3 a copy.

     
  • Gates and Microsoft are just screwing over 3rd world countries by pretending that Windows and a standard PC are anything like the whole package of the OLPC project. There is no comparison and all this shows is that Bill Gates and Microsoft are ONLY AFTER THE MONEY. Donations to schools and libraries are only to hook them and their low income users onto the Microsoft Windows threadmill.

    They'll find shortsighted naive people to take them up but when reality sinks in, the OLPC setup has more promise to do THE
  • FEAR is a terrific motivator. Unfortunately, it is a lagging indicator response as Ballmer has initiated it.

    Ballmer is not a forward thinking guy who came out with a total package solution (software+hardware) 4-5 years ago, when he would have been a leader/innovator.

    He let Linux, OSX, & OLPC get a 4 year head start while Ballmerizms were used to describe Medica Center, XBox, etal.

    As a result of insecurity foisted by MS's poor state of programming and internet bug/hole detection over the last 4-5 years,
  • they'd just launch a cut-down version of Vista that ran on the cheapie hardware.
    *MEEEP*
    You think Bill reads Slashdot?
  • Let's make one thing really clear. Each and every OLPC XO machine is going to be owned by a kid. The government is paying for it, but it has no ownership. In the MS new offering, the government pays for the hardware and the computers. Given that they actually have to buy PCs that may cost significantly more than the XO, they have no requirement to actually give ownership away. In other words they own the computer. So this is the scenario: kids borrow PCs from the government, and they are most likely require

"Probably the best operating system in the world is the [operating system] made for the PDP-11 by Bell Laboratories." - Ted Nelson, October 1977

Working...