As Richard discussed in the previous post, free software is very compelling, even essential, for startups, students, and emerging markets. In an effort to get in the game in these markets, Microsoft announced last week that it will sell its Student Innovation Suite for $3.00 under certain conditions. The student innovation suite includes: Windows XP Starter Edition, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, Microsoft Math 3.0, Learning Essentials 2.0 for Microsoft Office, and Windows Live Mail desktop. To qualify, the price of the student’s PC must be subsidized over 50% by their government, and PCs must be ordered in bulk.
Comments run the spectrum from “Who cares?” to “Great!” to “Here goes Microsoft trying to kill Linux.”
Here’s a brief roundup:
- Microsoft’s $3 anti-Linux weapon
- Machines would run about $300
- PC World (the comments are more interesting than the article)
- OLPC Board Member says it’s a good thing (and OLPC has 1 million orders)
- Seattle PI
- iTWire says “Here kid, the first one’s free.”
My thoughts on this:
- Microsoft is doing this to compete with Linux, OpenOffice, and other free software. They make no secret of that.
- Free is still a very good price. Any student in any other country knows that it’s only free to them as a student. It won’t be free to their employer. It won’t be free if they launch their own business. Free software will always be free. Again, no big secret here.
- If you’re India, China, Pakistan, Poland, this is great news. Much of your software industry is off-shored development for the rest of the world. You want to be able to do work on Linux, Windows, or whatever the demand is for.
But what do I know? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment away.