Google has one proud world mission: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” for those that can afford a computer, have Internet access and visit Google.com, that is (with Google ads an added bonus).Microsoft has just announced its new world mission: “a commitment to help close the digital divide by creating new products and programs that will help bring social and economic opportunity to the estimated 5 billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology.”
Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft:
“Bringing the benefits of technology to the next 5 billion people will require new products that meet the needs of underserved communities; creative, new business approaches that make technology more relevant, accessible and affordable; and close collaboration between local governments, educational institutions and community organizations.”
To date, Microsoft says its five-year, $250 million investment in its Partners in Learning program is active in 101 countries, with training that has equipped 2.5 million teachers to reach more than 57 million students across the countries.
A new Microsoft Student Innovation Suite will be launched in 2007 at a price of $3 for governments purchasing and giving Windows-based PCs to students for their school work, including 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.The Microsoft educational subsidies are part of a multi-faceted development program for emerging countries called “Unlimited Potential”: “Enabling Sustained Social and Economic Opportunity for the Next 5 Billion People.”
Microsoft began with a dream of a PC on every desk and in every home. Thirty years ago this seemed impossible. Today, for the more than one billion people we’ve reached, life has changed profoundly. But for more than five billion people, the opportunity to learn, connect, create, and succeed remains elusive.
This combination of advanced technologies and strong partnerships with governments, partners, non-governmental organizations educators, and academics allows us to take an innovative approach to enabling new avenues of social and economic empowerment.
The wide ranging “Unlimited Potential” initiative is focused on “delivering relevant, accessible and affordable solutions in three interrelated areas that are crucial to developing economic opportunity; Transforming education, fostering local innovation and enabling jobs and opportunities” via concrete programs, such as:Microsoft Innovation Centers
Microsoft Community Technology Centers
A comprehensive set of programs and services within local communities to expand workforce skills, create jobs, strengthen innovation and improve competitiveness, offering software development assistance, business skills training, employment programs for students, and market incubation via the local start-up community. The current network of 110 worldwide centers serves over 100 communities in 60 nations. Microsoft is extending its resources investment in these centers over the next two years, and anticipates opening and supporting 200 centers in an additional 25 countries worldwide by 2009.
Providing underserved populations with IT education and skills training around the world. In the three years since the program began, Microsoft has provided cash grants, software donations, and technical support and training to 17,500 community technology centers in more than 100 countries.
Where does Google stand on the world service front, on making technology more “universally accessible and useful”?
I unveiled one Google effort last month in“AdScape: A Google Massive game? revealing that Google’s next step in its never ending mission to foster democracy by organizing the world’s information will be to make all the world’s games accessibly advertising supported.
The new Google “Dean of Games,” Bernie Stolar is at this moment:
Coming up with some interesting new ways to introduce non-intrusive and targeted advertising in order to make gaming accessible and affordable for all.
How about the world’s students? What is Google doing to better the educational system?
I took the wraps off of Google’s university ambush plan in Google aims to usurp campus email systems revealing that Google is making an end run around college administrators and IT management with a direct to student campaign aimed at creating a ground swell movement for Google Apps Education Edition, on every campus: Proof of student status required to turn off Google ads!
Google is stepping up big time, though, in the one area it can’t be beat at, AdWords:
Google gives free Google advertising to selected non-profits through its Google Grants program, supporting more than 2,100 non-profit organizations in 16 countries to date.
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