Microsoft's goal: More than 2 billion served by 2015

Summary: 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. Microsoft is planning to do just that, via an expansion of a program designed to seed Windows, Office and other software among students in developing nations.

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? 

Topics: Microsoft

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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