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A learning opportunity for have-nots

Microsoft aims to make technology available to over a billion poor people through its programme called Unlimited Potential.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2007 18:20 IST

Global software giant Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled yet another initiative to make computer education easier, accessible and affordable for the poor through the use of information, communication and technology (ICT).

With the launch of its programme called Unlimited Potential, Microsoft aims to make technology available to over a billion poor people by 2015.

"Our founding vision of a computer on every desk and in every home has reached the first billion people, and with Unlimited Potential, we are determined to reach the next billion people by 2015," Orlando Ayala, senior vice president of the emerging segments market development group at Microsoft, told a press conference in New Delhi.

"Quality of Indian education still faces many challenges and the biggest of them all is to make ICT available to the millions at the bottom of the pyramid," Ayala said.

Microsoft also launched a computer called IQ PC with the entire package priced at about Rs 21,000 ($500).

Aimed at children of all age groups, the PC includes Windows, Office and specialised education solutions for a range of options including teaching a particular subject, tutorials for competitive exams or ensuring seamless transition from class work to homework.

"The task that we have today is to make technology pervasive and useful in the everyday lives of more and more people," said Ravi Venkatesan, chairman, Microsoft India.

"The current growth of IT penetration in India might be rapid, but it is not rapid enough. Affordability is critical and goes far beyond low-cost hardware," he added.

It also launched the MSN IQ Beta Education Channel that will act as storehouse of educational content.

Initially, Microsoft would launch the IQ offerings - the PC and the Education Channel - in Bangalore and Pune from July 1 as a part of its pilot programme and then roll them out in the rest of the country by November.