Needy Children To Receive Laptops With Microsoft XP, Office

Some of the world's poorest children are about to get high technology in the form of inexpensive laptops with Microsoft software and Intel processors.
Some of the poorest children in the world are about to get high technology in the form of inexpensive laptops filled with software, largely as a result of battling by many of the world's largest high-tech companies that are seeking to establish beachheads in emerging markets.

In Portugal, 500,000 children will be getting laptops with Intel processors loaded with Microsoft XP operating systems and Office 2007. In Peru, poor children will be getting laptops from the One Laptop Per Child program with XP and Microsoft Office 2003, according to media reports.

The major sea change, under way in recent weeks, is that Microsoft has agreed to install its XP operating system on low-cost laptops bound for countries with large populations of poor children.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hailed the launch of Microsoft's Magellan Learning Suite in Portugal.

"We are pleased and honored to join the Portuguese government and others on the Magellan Initiative as we work together to make technology more relevant, accessible, and affordable for students in Portugal and around the world," said Ballmer as he outlined Microsoft's participation in the Magellan plan.

Meanwhile, laptops from the One Laptop Per Child organization are scheduled to have Microsoft software. Previously, OLPC laptops generally used processors from AMD and software from Linux and other open source organizations.

AMD and Intel battle on just about everything and the children-in-emerging-markets market is no exception. Intel once lagged in that field but the Magellan program is a signal that it is spearheading a new drive. The Portuguese laptops will be assembled in Portugal by a Portuguese company. Intel chairman Craig Barrett announced the semiconductor company's planned participation in the Magellan program earlier this year.

As for Microsoft, Ballmer noted that a brace of collaborative services and features will be available to Magellan users around the world. In addition, Microsoft said it planned to spend an additional $235.5 million through its Microsoft Unlimited Potential to bring computing solutions to students and teachers worldwide.

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