How do you keep growing the market for Windows and Office desktop software when you already have cornered in excess of 90 percent of the market?
One way is to grow the market. That's Microsoft's goal with its expanded Unlimited Potential program, via which it plans to sell a $3 bundle of Windows XP Starter Edition, Office Home and Student 2007, Windows Live Mail Desktop and several educational products to governments in developing nations for distribution to local students.
Microsoft's motivation (besides the unstated goal of competing with the Linux-based One Laptop Per Child initiative)?
"This is not a philanthropic effort, this is a business," said Orlando Ayala, senior vice president at Microsoft's emerging segments market development group in an interview with Reuters.
Microsoft is betting it can double the number of (paying, not pirated) Windows users, to more than 2 billion by 2015, with these kinds of programs.
What do you think? Pipe dream? Or doable goal?