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Microsoft launches education PC, education channel in India

30 June, 2007

Microsoft will start testing a new education personal computer (PC) called IQ PC and an education channel on its MSN portal in India in July 2007.

The launch in India of the IQ PC and the education channel will be the first of its kind worldwide. The project is a part of Microsoft's ‘Unlimited Potential’ program, which aims to use technology to increase the reach of education, according to a spokesman for Microsoft India.

Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, had announced the ‘Unlimited Potential’ program in April 2007.

The new education PC, which is a combination of online and offline content, is likely to be priced around Indian Rupees 21,000 ($513). It runs on an Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) processor, and comes bundled with software from both Microsoft and local partners offering educational software.

Microsoft has also announced the launch of the MSN IQ Beta Education Channel, which will be a repository of educational and ‘edutainment’ content. Students will have access online to curriculum, tutoring, competitive exam coaching, entertainment, references, and counseling.

Students will be able to access the education channel through the IQ PC and from shared PCs at internet cafes.

Microsoft has entered into partnership with Indian personal computer makers Zenith Computers of Mumbai and Wipro of Bangalore. Besides selecting AMD as a partner for the pilot program, Microsoft is working with Intel Corporation on other similar initiatives.

Microsoft has already trained over 100,000 teachers in India on using computers in education through its ‘Project Shiksha.’

Microsoft Research in Bangalore, which is working on technologies that will make computers more accessible and affordable to students, has developed a technology called MultiPoint that allows several computer mice to be used with a PC simultaneously. This technology is targeted at schools in India and other countries that cannot afford to give each student a PC.

The concept of the IQ PC has been researched extensively by Microsoft, but the company plans to run test programs of the PC and the MSN Education Channel first in Bangalore and Pune. The countrywide launch of the IQ PC and the MSN Education Channel will be in November 2007.

According to Ravi Venkatesan, chairman of Microsoft India, the task ahead of the company is to make technology pervasive and useful in the day-to-day lives of more and more people.

Also, Microsoft is reportedly planning to embark on a job search service for India’s 400,000-odd engineers who graduate out of engineering colleges year after year. The company said it is already holding discussions with the Indian government and the industry in this regard.






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