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4/20/2007
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Microsoft Wants To Double The Number Of PCs In The World By 2015

And most of them will run Windows if $3 software deal takes off in developing countries.

Three dollars. that's what Microsoft is going to charge governments in developing countries for Windows and Office, if they buy the software to put on computers they give to schoolchildren. In announcing the program last week, Microsoft said it wants to see the number of PCs in the world double to 2 billion by 2015.

Of course, Microsoft wants them all to run Windows. So it's a shrewd move to get its software to the world's poor at a young age. These are people who'd otherwise not have a computer or, if they did, would be more likely to use pirated software.

A penny for your thoughts -- Photo by Li Muyi/Color China Photo

A penny for your thoughts

Photo by Li Muyi/Color China Photo
The program stands alongside the likes of the One Laptop Per Child project and Intel's $1 billion, five-year World Ahead Program. But Bill Gates argues hardware isn't the toughest problem. "It's not just the cost of the PC, but rather these issues of connectivity, of the training, the maintenance, the support, all of those have to come together," Microsoft's chairman said while making the announcement in Beijing, where he received an honorary degree from Tsinghua University.

Emerging markets are critical to Microsoft's growth. Last week, the company said it's collaborating with Lenovo on research at that company's Beijing lab. It revealed other efforts, including plans to double the number of training centers it runs around the world to 200 by 2009, build a Web portal to sharpen the skills of prospective Indian IT workers, and create public-private partnerships to help governments in five developing countries use technology to improve public service.

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