An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has launched an effort to double its user base to 2 billion by 2015 by offering a US$3 Microsoft package, which will be sold to qualifying governments. This package 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. From the article: "The last thing Microsoft wants to see is a Linux third world. Therefore, since most recycled PCs will be Windows machines running XP, it is in Microsoft's interests to persuade cash poor governments to buy cheap recycled PCs which will be capable of running its US$3 software." Microsoft, which has a massive piracy problem in developing countries, is caught between a rock and a hard place in poorer nations. Most consumers cannot afford its premium priced software and the only way to access Microsoft products is to buy cheap pirated copies. The problem for Microsoft is if it cracks down too hard on piracy in poor countries it risks pushing consumers into the arms of open source alternatives such as Linux."
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