Bill Gates may be the world’s most generous philanthropist, but that tag is usually overshadowed by the brickbats hurled his way for dominating our computing life with Microsoft Windows.
Now he’s combining his do-gooding with business with the $3 Microsoft Windows package for developing countries (terms and conditions apply).
At the heart of this is his stated desire to bridge the technology and innovation gap between rich and poor nations.
But, as PC World’s Harry McCracken pointed out, it’s also a delayed reaction to the Linux-ification of the developing world.
China, for example, favors the open-source Linux operating system. Projects like the $100 laptop, aimed at developing countries, run on Linux too.
Microsoft’s ultra-cheap Windows bundle will get students in poor countries hooked on Windows while they’re young and encourage them to continue their habits into adulthood, hopefully before they discover a better operating system.
It will also boost their piracy drive. Microsoft’s popularity in the developing world is aided in large part by enterprising software bootleggers who have made the operating system available to developing countries’ citizens for much less than $3 over the years. Now, Microsoft will at least be able to make some money from markets where they previously earned nothing.
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