|President Kenyatta with Microsoft Global President, Jean-Philippe Courtois and Dr. Fred Matiangi [Photo||PPS]|
Microsoft, the company that has made Bill Gates the richest man in the world, is not willing to be left behind in President Kenyatta’s free laptop program.
Yesterday, the president hosted Microsoft Global President Jean-Philippe Courtois and his delegation at State House Nairobi, where he was assured that Microsoft will support the government in training all primary school teachers to enable them implement the programme by January 2014.
Mr Courtois said his company will work with different partners to develop at least five enterprises in each County to provide technical support in hardware, connectivity and software to all schools in the country.
He also assured the president that Microsoft will develop a research and innovation hub at Konza Technology Park to support software developers in the country.
President Kenyatta on his part assured Mr Courtois that his government will provide all the facilitation needed to roll out the partnership in line with the existing laws and regulations. He urged the Ministries of Education and Information Communication and Technology to work closely with Microsoft in order to come up with a framework of rolling out the partnership immediately.
Behind the press release, it is believed that in essence, Microsoft bagged the deal to equip the laptops with its software.
Most recognized among its brands are Windows, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Microsoft Excel.
In retail terms, a single Windows disk goes for between Sh 5000 and Sh 15000. Microsoft Office software – which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint among others, retail at around Sh 5000.
Even if the government will get some good discount, it is clear this is big business for Microsoft, and that can be explained by the presence of its global president.
Over a decade ago, some Asian countries introduced a similar laptop programme in their schools. Their governments chose the free and open source Linux operating system, as opposed to Microsoft’s Windows.
The children grew up using Linux, and years later, they still are. Microsoft lost some of those countries permanently, and sure, they’re not ready to repeat the same mistake in Kenya.
If our children are brought up using Linux, chances are they’ll still use Linux twenty years from now.