back to article Microsoft debuts Windows for the Poor

Microsoft is to sell a Windows bundle for $3 targeting students in emerging markets. The Student Innovation Suite will feature Windows XP Starter Edition, Office Home and Student, Microsoft Math 3.0, Learning Essentials 2.0 for Office and Windows Live Mail, and will be available in selected countries where governments pay for …


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  1. Fredrik Boström


    I was under the impression that the first hit is usually free?

  2. Chad H.


    So, for $3 in a poor country, you could:

    A) buy a legitamate, if crippled version of the old windows

    B) buy a pirated, but full, version of the new OS, with all the bells and whistles, and cash to spare.

    You cant compete with piracy on price, the (financial) costs to the pirate are almost non existent, especialy with crippleware.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm low to middle income

    That's great news. I *think* New Zealand is a "middle income" country, the way it has slipped a long way behind Australia... so I'm hoping to get XP in 2008 for $3.

    Then again, I might have fully converted to Ubuntu by then, like many others will.

  4. Neil Lewis

    How many more times....It's not just about price

    This is about education, and a Windows system with an office suite is just an expensive substitute for a typewriter. Any other software will still cost these arm and a leg, and pretty well all the software will be proprietary and closed source - designed to be consumed rather than understood. Not only that, this is XP that's being offered - an OS that MS itself already regards as obsolete.

    The XO/OLPC is designed around a free OS, not just because the software (that's all the software, not just the OS and some office apps) is free of charge, but also because a computer running a free OS with open source code is a much more powerful tool for learning. The OS is based on a standard Linux kernel, which can be updated as necessary for the foreseeable future, as can all the other XO/OLPC software.

    Finally, the XO/OLPC is much more than just a cheap regular laptop. It has been designed specifically for the circumstances where it is intended to be used - ruggedised, with very low power needs, with a built in power supply of it's own when needed, wireless networking designed to share internet and other resources and a multi-mode display to handle very wide ambient lighting variations. There is no normal laptop with a specification anything like this, so there is no reasonable comparison, regardless of price.

    To give one of the popular motor car analogies, it's like choosing between impractical stretch limos with their bonnets welded shut and no manuals and jeeps with manuals, tools, free spares for life and help from the people who actuall desgned and built it.

  5. donkarman

    One government babu's response doesn't count as a nation's (official) response

    I am an Indian and (as a majority of Indians are) a proud supporter of Nick's OLPC. States and companies in India are pursuing a very forward looking open-source policies. The central government even has a major part in Microsoft's decision to open up some of its source(, albeit under a license). Impenetrability of Indian market is also a reason for MS's starter-editions(for what its worth). Linux and common-sense are still strong in India. India may not have shown eagerness in getting OLPC to its kids, but I don't believe that it(the govt-babu's remarks) is it's official stand/response.

    One government babu's response doesn't count as a nation's (official) response. That guy is clearly misinformed and out of any reference frame. His statement is definitely improperly articulated. He is clearly not following the progress of the idea/project and is not qualified to speculate on it. He doesn't even have a basic understanding of the project. He says "Even inside America(he means US here), there is not much enthusiasm about this(who is he listening to? Microsoft? Intel?)". Why does he even think that the US is one of OLPC's targets? So don't take his statement seriously. If I were the paymaster, I'll advice, babus without proper homework/tact/diplomacy, to shut up.

    It pains me to see his quote oft repeated, whenever there is some OLPC development. It may add some spice, but in fairness, this better be stopped.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the parents?

    I do a bit of work amongst low decile (poorer) education institutes here in NZ in the technology adaptation area and they too are pleased that they have been included the NZ govt. MS deal for schools (similar kind of thing to the article).

    Apart from continually pointing out that the software is not gratis (it's been paid for by the NZ taxpayer) what I really try to get across is:

    Given that we have an education inclusion policy in NZ where parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate in their childs education, as soon as the school provides a proprietary document format to the parents there is an implicit assumption that the parents or caregivers will have a legal, fully paid for, licensed copy of the program to read it...

    At the end of the day it doesn't matter that the school can produce documents pertaining to the childs education for zero cost or even for three dollars. The parents in these poorer areas cannot in many cases legally participate in that process.

    What message do we send the children when the parents have to perform a criminal act in order to just be parents?

    The educators I talk to are almost unanimous in their uptake of things like OpenOffice and other F/LOSS once the benefits of the alternatives to their communities are outlined and demonstrated.

  7. Walter Brown

    Can we get a mastercard commercial out of this?

    L33t hAX0r b0x $300.00

    pH4t W4R3z highspeed DSL $30.00

    Installing $3 XP long enough to download Vista torrent.... $Priceless

    There are some things money just can buy, for everything else, theres mastercard!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    for 3 dollars

    Well, Microsoft is going to have to try harder than that. US$3 for a crippled, 3-windows-from-3-programs-at-once-only version of windows that's in a language that I believe shouldn't be used on computer screens? No thanks, I'd prefer something that allows me to do more AND works in a language I'm fully comfortable with.

  9. William Donelson

    The first HIT is free, heh heh snort heh

    Microsoft, as usual, trying to cloak self-interest in Charity.

    What a bunch of scum-sucking LIARS.

    And OBVIOUS LIARS at that!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    for the privilege of buying, by their own admission, an obsolete operating system.

    $3 for the privilege of being infested by viruses, having your machine hijacked, having your personal details stolen....

    Still its better than paying about $400 for it.....

  11. Godwin Stewart

    Re: decisions

    Chad H. writes:

    :So, for $3 in a poor country, you could:

    :A) buy a legitamate, if crippled version of the old windows

    :B) buy a pirated, but full, version of the new OS, with all the bells and whistles, and cash to spare.

    You're forgetting:

    C) feed your family for a week.

    People are still forgetting that the primary concern of most people in the parts of the world targetted by this is where their next meal is going to come from. If they're starving, they're still not going to spend $3 on a crippled O/S, they're going to spend their money on food.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    going up ?

    Once people move up in their skills , they try to go up in

    the software , wanting to try new things , from simple user

    a lot will want to try apache and ftp's and the likes .

    With Linux .. all is free , With Microsoft that's where it hurts

    really bad.

    If they gave me windows , id still wouldn't go to it for that

    very reason. I left it cause it was a financial vacuum cleaner.

    As soon as you want to understand something you're stuck.

    Everything is locked shut ..

    What im trying to say is , if you look for an OS that allows you

    to understand how an OS works , that you can grow in without

    having financial worries where the next meal comes from , i

    say forget the 3$ first dose .. it aint even worth 3 $ , it's your

    ticket to a lifetime of pay pay pay ..

    Linux is a very important key for education for this very

    reason. it's free and it still remains free for you to use at

    it's maximum potential today and tomorrow.

    This MS offer is nothing but a poison pill.

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