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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.
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Microsoft Takes On the OLPC

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  • 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?
  • 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.
  • by tsetem (59788) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [metest]> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:29AM (#18799817)
    <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, without resorting to making Windows XP unbuyable...
    </rant>
  • Re:Unbiased my arse. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:35AM (#18799913)
    Especially considering how much more you get with OLPC, like hardware that doesn't require a plug, etc. If anything I see this as a reaction to the russian school administrator, not OLPC.
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:46AM (#18800087)
    I'd prefer not to run Windows at all but at $3 the 'license dies with the machine' bullshit isn't so offensive when you want to move a license to a VM image.

    Microsoft, where's our $3 XP you monopolistic fucks?
  • 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.
  • Re:Unbiased my arse. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jeevesbond (1066726) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:55AM (#18800241) Homepage

    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 result of the OLPC efforts. Microsoft are rightly worried they're going to miss out, losing market share to FLOSS. I would be worred if I were defending an outdated business model with an uncertain future [itpro.co.uk] too.

    The BBC is pretty unbiased when it comes to technology and they made the comparison between this and the OLPC, or did you not bother to read the article? Even if they aren't unbiased they're certainly not 'free software zealots'.

    Whilst it's unfortunate that you're a Microsoft fanboy I do applaud your spelling of the word 'arse'.

  • by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon&gmail,com> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @04:50PM (#18804845) Homepage Journal
    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 the project to investigate the cost of buying OS licenses so they could use MSOFfice... and went with Linux.
  • by Duggeek (1015705) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @05:19PM (#18805265) Homepage Journal

    For that matter, what about those MSFT plans to abandon XP support [slashdot.org]? Where does that leave these schools?

    Sure hope someone in the upper echelon has their eyes open on this one. (Oh, boy...)

    Here's the lesson: 2 + 2 = 5.3 billion in government fundage from leveraged Vista upgrades.

    Don't forget: (from OP)

    To qualify, a government would have to provide free PCs to schools.

    Just wait for the announcement that Dell, CDW or HP will be providing “entry level workstations” for this. (read: formerly-on-clearance-2003-models)

    When you're capital is running dry, make deals with governments... they'll buy anything if they think it’s good for their nation.

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