Student Innovation Suite to Bring Next Generation of Software Users

Kachina Shaw

A raft of announcements arrived from Microsoft today about new programs related to education, governmental partnerships and building emerging markets.


The Student Innovation Suite is getting the biggest headlines, perhaps because we don't often see "Microsoft" and "$3" in the same sentence. Or maybe because we don't often see "Microsoft" and "innovation" in the same sentence?


Three dollars is the price for governmental bodies around the world that are also subsidizing the cost of computers for students. The software package will include some basics like XP Starter Edition, Office Home and Student 2007.


Though no figures on the total investment in this program and others announced today are being given, reports that they are part of the $250 million Partners in Learning program. Microsoft will also expand governmental partnerships by building an additional 90 Microsoft Innovation Centers internationally. The centers function as technology and job skills training facilities for local populations and as job creation facilities for local software development and sales communities.


A Quocirca analyst quoted in the piece gives Microsoft props for taking the licensing cost factor out of the battle the company is waging in many international markets with open source software. (If in fact it is waging that battle, which Microsoft Senior VP Orlando Ayala weakly denies in the same piece -- though in one sense, he is accurate. It's not as if Redmond will be offering legitimate copies of Vista or Microsoft Office for three bucks.)


Ayala did tell The San Jose Mercury News that many of the individuals touched by these subsidized programs will form the next generation of Microsoft software users -- the next billion or so. You can't fault a cash-rich software behemoth for speeding up the addition of new customers to its rolls, though, when the strategy brings much-needed hardware, software and training to those on the wrong side of the digital divide.

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Apr 21, 2007 9:40 AM Barry Steele Barry Steele  says:
Innovation and Microsoft are NOT great companions, but then again marketing has never let truth stand in the way of a good slogan.Exactly what 'innovation' has Microsoft brought to the world?1. Personal Computer Operating System? No, I recall Bill actually bought that one.2. WordProcessing? - again, no that was someone else3. Excel Spreadsheets? - no, again bought from someone else4. I know - Graphic USer interfaces - Well both Apple and the Unix world beat them by years (decades actually) 5. Internet Apps? - Bill once said that the internet had no future, infact Microsoft had to be bought into the net kicking and screaming.I haven't got all the links just now, but these are at least instructive:[url][/url][url][/url]I have an enormous respect for Microsoft's marketing and product management abilities. I think there software is sub-standard, which only makes the above more impressive. I object though to this concept that the company has any claim to being an innovator. This is simply not supported by any facts.Microsoft have not brought anything the market that was at the same time, their own internal developed idea and revolutionising to the industry. In fact with their incomprehensible attacks on the Open Source world, they are one of the most culable retarders of innovation.Making small (in Microsoft terms) investments in schools is not aimed at innovation but rather to get students used to the MS environments in the same way Sun Microsoystems did in the 80's. It established a new generation of advocates, because it is always more comfortable using toold you know.Anyway, that's out of the system now. I look to forward to true innovation that removes the need to continually upgrade my hardware platform simply because and operating system manufacturer decides to add more bloat to their code. Long live the maverick - they give us the bright ideas. Reply

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