Microsoft "Innovation Centers"? Is That Like "Jesus Camp" for Windows Geeks?
“Microsoft Unlimited Potential.” That’s what the software maker calls its ambitious program to expand personal computer usage in developing countries. Which is an apt moniker, because if there’s anywhere with unlimited potential for cultivating a vast new Windows user base it’s in those economies defined as low-income by the the World Bank.
This morning Microsoft announced plans to offer a Student Innovation Suite, which includes Windows XP Starter Edition and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, for $3 to governments that subsidize a certain percentage of the cost of PCs for students. The company also pledged to open some 200 Microsoft “Innovation Centers” facilities where local communities can seek training and assistance in the Windows ecosystem. Sort of like one of those Pentecostal summer camps, except in this case the kids spend their summers learning Vista’s system requirements and being taught that they can take back the world for Microsoft. “Microsoft is betting that at least some of the kids from developing nations will turn into buyers of more mainstream products later in life,” Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, told the New York Times. “The theory is that if you get them young, you can keep them for life.”