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Fear and anger erupt over $3 Microsoft Suite

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Microsoft

By now, most people have heard that Microsoft will be selling a $3 version of Windows XP Starters Edition along with Office and some other educational software to students in the third world, but fear and anger have erupted in some circles in the Internet community. The two primary concerns I'm hearing across the forums are:

* Isn't this illegal dumping and unfair to open source solutions?
* Why aren't (insert first-world country here) students getting these prices?

To address the first question, we must look at the definition of dumping. It is generally accepted that dumping is taking place when a product is being sold below the cost of production as a means to undercut a competitor's price to put them out of business. Some may view the mere act of selling a product at lower prices in the recipient country than in the country of origin as an act of dumping, but the recipient country wouldn't usually file a complaint unless its local industry is being undercut in prices. In this case, the competitor in question is open source software, which isn't really owned by anyone, and Microsoft obviously isn't undercutting the price since $3 > $0.

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When Is Three Bucks Too Much?

Later this year, Microsoft will offer the Student Innovation Suite—Learning Essentials 2.0 for Microsoft Office, Microsoft Math 3.0, Office Home and Student 2007, Windows Live Mail Desktop and Windows XP Starter Edition—to governments for $3 per student. The suite will be licensed for use on government-subsidized PCs provided directly to students, which would pay nothing for the software.

Out of the gate, the student suite has a big handicap: No takers. There are no government programs in place to use it. So Microsoft's first challenge will be generating interest—and maybe even establishing infrastructure—for the creation of PC-for-student programs. Even then, the process is probably going to be tough going.

Strange as it might seem, $3 a student may be just too high. Microsoft would have to pay many countries $3 a student to take the software—and probably much more. I'm not assigning a negative value to Microsoft software, just realistically assessing that there are many obstacles. Among them:

More Here.

re: Reality of third world market for anybody ?

actually, third world countries don't pay microsoft a penny, 90% of third world users use a FREE bootlegged version of MS windows xp/vista (and sometimes office), they don't really need a 3$ watered-down windowsXP anyway, log in to any torrent site or p2p client, and windows is most likely one of the top searches/downloads, and don't be fooled in thinking that only individual users use these versions, schools and small enterprises do use them too, even new computers come preloaded with a bootlegged windows, reason? they have NOT seen any alternatives (MS windows is still known as the only OS around) and there is no laws that restrict such abuse. if microsoft hopes to make any kind of money out of a 3rd world country they need to invoke such laws first, but even that can backfire, because people will start searching for alternatives, and that's when linux pops in.

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