Thursday, April 19, 2007

Microsoft hopes to buy poor people’s loyalty for $ 3 a pop

Microsoft is reportedly going to offer a lite version of Windows XP Starter Edition and Office Home and Office 2007 for only $3 to poor people in developing countries.

Governments in poor countries will reportedly foot the bill for the software and will bundle it on to machines that may cost around $300.

On the other hand, the One Laptop per Child will sell for only $150 and runs on open source software. It is already being tested in Argentina and Nigeria among other nations.

Strangely, the Indian Government is non-committal to the $150 Laptop. Microsoft’s considerable lobbying and PR machinery is working hard to make sure that governments in the poor countries opt for its still expensive (compared to FREE) software.

Details about security features of the $3 bundle are still not clear. Since these will come preloaded on the PC, what options do the consumers have when they format the PC?

This wouldn’t add anything to Microsoft’s coffers but the company hopes to convert these poor people into buyers of more expensive software.

At best, it is a wet dream of a collective group of overpaid hacks selling shirnkwrap.



At 8:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discounted commercial software is a threat to fair trade in the labor market. This “giveaway” and the continued discounts to the “emerging nations” in part is an effort to maintain and expand the pool of low cost offshore labor. Far from a charitable act, it is also a loosely disguised marketing program to preserve Microsoft’s dominant position. It does so in a manner that discriminates against the population of developed nations and tampers with fair trade and fair competition. Where are the discounts for the poor in developed nations? They don't exist and it's not an oversight.

At 3:17 PM , Blogger Pramit Singh said...


There are no free lunches.


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