In a bid to increase the number of PC users and computer usage around the world with goal of adding 1 billion more people with access to computer by 2015, Microsoft plan to offer a package of heavily discounted software bundle suites for a mere $3 to government programs that distribute subsidized low cost PCs to students around the world, especially in developing nation. However, it’s unlikely Microsoft ‘does no evil’ in this initiative. The mass release of cheap Windows and Office applications will help Microsoft to gain early footprint in students’ computing usage and thus stem off competition from alternative open source operating system such as Linux that threatens dominant position of Windows, currently run in more than 90% of computers worldwide, as these students will eventually join the market with familiarity in Microsoft’s products.

The $3 Student Innovation Suite (MSIS) was announced by Bill Gates in Beijing. The Student Innovation Suite will be available for school and home use by students in primary and secondary grades, and will only come preloaded on PCs provided through government initiatives. The offer also valid in developed countries through government initiatives to students in the bottom 15 percent of the economic bracket. It will not be available in retail channel though, and will be offered from second half of 2007.

$3 per license software suite for low cost PCs is also the answer for Microsoft to MIT Media Lab’s One Laptop Per Child initiative, where a computer for a student computer in emerging nations is just $100. Other than the fact that normal priced Microsoft products will be more expensive than the hardware and helps driving privacy, it also dumped Windows OS for XO, built from open source software Red Hat’s Fedora Core 6, indirectly threatening the dominant position of Windows operating system if the project gets popular.

The education suite includes Windows XP Starter Edition (stripped down feature edition of Windows XP, much like Windows Vista Starter Edition), Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, Microsoft Math 3.0, Learning Essentials 2.0 for Microsoft Office, and Windows Live Mail desktop (has since updated to Windows 7 Professional and Office Home & Student 2010).

For more information on the cheap software bundle, visit Microsoft Unlimited Potential the PDF brochure.