Gates launches developing world tech initiative
IDG News Service - BEIJING -- Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates launched an initiative here Thursday aimed at bridging the digital divide between technologically advanced and developing countries.
The initiative, an expansion of Microsoft's "Unlimited Potential" strategy, involves offering governments a $3 software package called the Student Innovation Suite. It 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.
The suite will be available by the end of this year to qualifying governments that are working to supply PCs to students in order to promote technology skills. In 2008, Microsoft will extend its availability to all countries with economies defined as low- or middle-income by the The World Bank.
"In each country, it is tailored to the interests of the government and citizens, but it's about innovation, it's about integration, and it's about creating jobs in those regions," Gates said, speaking at the conclusion of the two-day Microsoft Government Leaders Forum Asia in Beijing.
Gates emphasized the role of technology in education and said the software would be a first step towards offering children in the developing world greater access to computing. He referred to "my favorite Windows product, the Windows tablet" and said that tablet PCs could eventually replace paper in schools.
"Over time, students won't need to have textbooks. The cost of [the tablet] will be less than buying textbooks, and yet the experience of using it is dramatically superior than what you would have had with a paper-based experience," Gates said.
While Gates has always been a proponent of using technology to solve social, economic and health problems worldwide, this latest move is not purely altruistic, one industry analyst said.
"You'll find that Microsoft would be fairly open if pushed, [and] that they don't go into a market for philanthropic reasons," said Clive Longbottom, founder of Quocirca, a technology research firm in London.
Microsoft has to find more creative ways to distribute its software in emerging markets, where open-source software and Linux have a foothold, he said. Partnering with local governments and global organizations to reach students and developers is a good way to do that, he said.
Microsoft's Windows-based approached differs from other developing-world computing initiatives such as the One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC), which makes use of an open-source Linux operating system, combined with an Advanced Micro Devices Inc. microprocessor and powered by a hand crank. OLPC has targeted a price for its laptop at $100 per unit by 2008, although Libya, Nigeria, Egypt, Rwanda and Ethiopia ordered units priced at $150 earlier this year.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data
- HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard
- This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting
- This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle
- This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle. All Government IT White Papers
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- All Government IT Webcasts