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Windows Cheap Enough For $2B Aussie Laptop Deal 234

Posted by kdawson
from the if-you-give-it-away dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Windows-based netbooks aren't too expensive to be ruled out of the Aussie government's billion dollar promise to give a laptop to every school-aged child, according to several education departments. The admission follows an earlier report that open source machines based on Ubuntu or Mandriva are the only option to deliver up to four million computers to students for under $2 billion. Microsoft itself claimed it will keep costs per unit down by hosting a lot of the educational software in the cloud rather than on the netbook devices."
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Windows Cheap Enough For $2B Aussie Laptop Deal

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:35PM (#26097797)

    internet connection for each of those school children.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tchiseen (1315299)
      If the students get OLPC's maybe they can use the ad-hoc wifi capabilities and make Australia's best internet :P
    • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:16PM (#26098273) Homepage

      well, since they're netbooks, not desktops, you'd need ubiquitous wireless access in order to match the functionality that would be provided with Ubuntu + OpenOffice. and considering that Australia's one of the few developed countries behind the U.S. in internet infrastructure, that seems very unlikely.

      to get the full benefits of the hardware, you pretty much have to go with FOSS or spend a heck of a lot more money.

      • by XDirtypunkX (1290358) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:35PM (#26099381)

        While Australia's wired access in rural areas is lacking, we have pretty much ubiquitous access to fast mobile (wireless) broadband. In fact, you can get 7.2mbit access pretty much everywhere in the country.

        That's soon going to be 21mbit, the first large scale roll-out in the world of that particular mobile technology.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by ZekeSpeak (947670)

          While Australia's wired access in rural areas is lacking, we have pretty much ubiquitous access to fast mobile (wireless) broadband. In fact, you can get 7.2mbit access pretty much everywhere in the country.

          That's soon going to be 21mbit, the first large scale roll-out in the world of that particular mobile technology.

          Really? The best Telstra can do is 3mbps download. If you want to pay $125 a month you can get a 10Gb shaped download plan (shaped to 64kbps if you exceed this). Sounds expensive.

          Most of the plans are capped at 1Gb or less (25c a MB if exceeded).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon (87307)

        You do realize that the United States is over 2.27x the land area of the EU, right? Australia is also over twice as large as the EU.

        The point I'm trying to make is that people complain about the lack of "broadband saturation" in the US, but don't seem to realize that South Korea is 32,622 square miles while the US is over 3.7MILLION square miles.

        There is a whole hell of a lot of space to cover, lots of people, etc. The major metro areas have things covered, but its terribly difficult to to get everything

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          With respect to the US, this was debunked time and time again.

          Yes, US is large. But most of its population is still gathered in very densely populated areas. Regardless, even within those areas, broadband saturation is nowhere near as high as it is in similarly populated areas in Europe, not to mention Korea or Japan.

          Furthermore, Canada and a few European countries (such as Finland) also have pretty large swathes of land with little population scattered around villages, yet they somehow manage to get broadb

    • by unit8765 (1411141) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:51PM (#26098629)
      No useful internet because of internet filtering in Australia.
  • $500 a "netbook"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:36PM (#26097807)

    Must be some pretty damn good machines to pay $500 a unit on an order of 4 million units.

    • Re:$500 a "netbook"? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Facetious (710885) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:50PM (#26098007) Journal
      No joke. I just picked up three Acer Aspire One netbooks (Linux edition) for $250 apiece at Newegg.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Akzo (1079039)
        Things outide the US are generally more expensive, not including shipping/customs costs and currency differences.
        • Re:$500 a "netbook"? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:18PM (#26098299) Homepage

          Things outide the US are generally more expensive, not including shipping/customs costs and currency differences.

          For millions of units of something made in Taiwan, it shouldn't be terribly difficult to get a reasonable price on it in Australia. At that volume, you can rent your own ship. If you're the Australian government, you shouldn't be paying customs. Etc.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Elektroschock (659467)

            And when you use a more efficient Linux environment as LXDE the maschine gets faster and more eco-efficient. If teaching applications move the cloud as Microsoft pretends the client operating system does not matter.

          • Re:$500 a "netbook"? (Score:4, Informative)

            by Eskarel (565631) on Friday December 12, 2008 @09:34PM (#26098989)
            Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

            Yes, the stuff is made in Taiwan or somewhere else in South East Asia, and yes, that's closer to Australia, than it is to most of the US, but we still pay more for everything.

            It's just the way things are. Just about everything is more expensive here.
            • There's got to be some Australian government policy making things that way then, because normally this sort of thing gets solve automatically by the market. Think of all the money *you* could make going to Taiwan or Hong Kong, buying netbooks for 250 AUD, shipping them bulk to Australia (probably less than $1/piece) and selling them for $300 AUD...

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by QuantumG (50515) *

            Oh dear. You're not familiar with the Australian government are you?

            For a start, the majority of the cost on computers is luxury tax. Yes, the tax man in Australia still considers computers to be a "luxury".

            Secondly, if the education department was to opt not to pay the luxury tax on these laptops then the revenue department would claim a shortfall. Ever wonder why government employees have to pay income tax? I mean, shit, their salary comes from the government. For a while I thought the defense force

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              For a start, the majority of the cost on computers is luxury tax. Yes, the tax man in Australia still considers computers to be a "luxury".

              I'm an accountant and this is wrong. There is no luxury tax on computers. It is certainly not the majority of cost on computers.

              Secondly, if the education department was to opt not to pay the luxury tax on these laptops then the revenue department would claim a shortfall.

              There is no luxury tax. I'll let you work out if it's a taxable supply for GST purposes. Suggest read

        • well, 500 AUD = 329.85 USD. which is also the list price for the Asus Eee PC in Australia [gizmodo.com.au] (for the Linux version, i'm assuming).

          shipping/customs shouldn't be a issue since it's being ordered by the Australian government, and in such bulk that the per unit shipping cost would be negligible.

          • well, 500 AUD = 329.85 USD. which is also the list price for the Asus Eee PC in Australia [gizmodo.com.au] (for the Linux version, i'm assuming).

            shipping/customs shouldn't be a issue since it's being ordered by the Australian government, and in such bulk that the per unit shipping cost would be negligible.

            The 701 model eee is advertised in the paper here in .au for $350 aud but I have seen it for 300 in a different store and I would expect to pay no more than 250 given that you can get better models now.

      • Re:$500 a "netbook"? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Sabriel (134364) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:16PM (#26098269)

        Note that the article is about Australia; one Aussie dollar currently equals 66 US cents and after the various middlemen get their markup the value of a computer in AUD is often double its USD value.

        (funny how every time the AUD approaches the USD, something happens to the stock market to bring it back down :p)

    • by aliquis (678370)

      When I went to school we even hade to pay for things like compass and protractor, and those things where actually useful for the studies to!

    • Re:$500 a "netbook"? (Score:5, Informative)

      by strider44 (650833) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:17PM (#26098289)
      This is in Australian dollars (approx. $330 USD) and includes a maintenance contract.
    • A real PM could get the unit cost down to $300, and use the other $200 for labor cost for the related services and servers.

      Windows wins here because they can afford to drive their unit cost into negative numbers. There's no credible antitrust agency that would prevent that.

      Which leads credence to the growing opinion that Windows adds negative value. Another word for negative value is 'cost'.

  • The Pusher (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Forrest Kyle (955623) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:36PM (#26097817) Homepage
    Drugs are always affordable when the dealer is trying to get you hooked.
    • Drugs are always affordable when the dealer is trying to get you hooked.

      You only have to mouse over to Walmart.com to see Windows becoming very competitive with Linux in the netbook sector.

      It's a familiar story.

      The OEM Linux box enters the retail market with bottom-feeder specs.

      It is never upgraded - even as the entry-level Windows PC approaches the same price point with hardware that was mid-line or better six months or so back.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ant P. (974313)

        It is never upgraded

        Well when you're used to an OS that needs reformatting every six months to get it back to a usable speed, I can see why that might be an issue.

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:37PM (#26097823) Homepage Journal

    Educational applications on a web server are nothing new. It's funny, though, that Windows would need them. I have one of these small-cheap-light laptops that cost $350 and is intended for use with Windows "only for web browsing and email". I put Debian on it. There's only one thing I have found that it can't do: build the Linux kernel quickly. It's kind of slow at that, but it works. OpenOffice is no problem, etc.

    But with a cloud, you can tie all of those kids into a network that Microsoft will be able to monetize, propogandize, etc.

    Bruce

    • by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:48PM (#26097999)

      Duh.

      Besides, "code you have on the box beats code that might be available".

      What's sad here isn't that Mr. Perens comment is, well, common sense, but rather that so many don't see it as so obvious.

      • by Yfrwlf (998822)
        Well I don't think the suits that are usually running these IT circuses understand "lock-in" and simple concepts like that so for them it's new. They don't look at long term costs, in every way that term can be applied, they just look at the dollar figure presented, watch the shiny PR video that's shown to them, and then sign the deal. I think many out there in the IT industry have witnessed that. I wouldn't be surprised whatsoever that if they did reject the figure because Linux is free, M$ would probab
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:35PM (#26098465) Journal
      You miss the point of this statement:

      Microsoft itself claimed it will keep costs per unit down by hosting a lot of the educational software in the cloud rather than on the netbook devices."

      It will keep the costs for the hardware down by hosting the applications elsewhere. Or, to put it another way, they will host education apps online for free (now) so that the required hardware specs are lower, allowing more of the total to be spent on (Microsoft) software used to access the (.NET, Windows-only) server side software (which may not remain free for long after the initial investment on Windows laptops has been made and you are locked in).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dragonslicer (991472)

      But with a cloud, you can tie all of those kids into a network that Microsoft will be able to monetize, propogandize, etc.

      Isn't that a bit "conspiracy theorist"? Why can't the explanation be something normal, like Microsoft making sure that every kid in Australia grows up believing that computer == Windows.

  • What a surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:37PM (#26097827) Homepage Journal

    "We're thinking of using Linux" == "Hey Microsoft, we want a discount!"

    • Re:What a surprise (Score:5, Informative)

      by grege1 (1065244) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:58PM (#26098109)
      I agree absolutely, and Microsoft will have to cave in because the thought of every school kid in the country using Linux and OpenOffice would give them nightmares. I would like to see the Education departments really use Linux laptops, but they do not have the guts to carry it through.
      • Re:What a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Yfrwlf (998822) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:06PM (#26098183)
        If it came down to it, M$ would give it to them for free rather than see Linux being used of course. That's why it's up to intelligent employees to realize what the long term costs are, and what they are doing by "selling" the Windows platform to students, so free for them would still be an excellent deal for Microsoft in numerous ways.
      • by forkazoo (138186)

        I agree absolutely, and Microsoft will have to cave in because the thought of every school kid in the country using Linux and OpenOffice would give them nightmares. I would like to see the Education departments really use Linux laptops, but they do not have the guts to carry it through.

        You aren't even thinking of the potential consequences if Australia pisses off MS bad enough. Clippy is going to say, "It looks like you are writing a letter about going to Australia. You should know that it doesn't exist.

    • Indeed, this is why the governments need to invest more in open source. It does not matter if they use it, it is just a fantastic tool to get really cheap procurement contracts.

  • Not really the same. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:38PM (#26097839)

    This seems like apples and oranges... With Ubuntu (for example) they're storing their files locally, with Windows they're going to be stored on Microsoft's servers somewhere, it's not really a comparable solution.

    • by EvilIdler (21087)

      Why would installing Ubuntu mean that they store files locally? Networked storage wasn't invented by Microsoft.

  • Oops! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I can see a hosted version of Microsoft Office 2007.

    The internet (or LAN) goes down, or there's some major power outage, and no-one can do their work or homework.

  • Save money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lordharsha (1101875) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:38PM (#26097843)
    Wouldn't it be more efficient to ditch Windows and use the extra money to give laptops to more children?
    • by FudRucker (866063)
      absolutely!
      • Give out OLPC's, they could distribute easily twice as many machines. And the distributed networking support is far superior to the average Windows or even Linux setup.
    • by insane_machine (952012) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:08PM (#26098211)

      Two Laptops Per Child Act (TLPC)

    • Re:Save money (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Yfrwlf (998822) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:08PM (#26098219)
      Even if Windows was given to them for free, which it very well could be, Microsoft would still get a lot from it and the school district, parents, and students would still lose in various ways.
      • Re:Save money (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Elektroschock (659467) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:42PM (#26098541)

        But negative prices are still possible! Microsoft should offer the netbooks with Windows away for free to schools. Otherwise the schools pay the lock-in costs and do product training and platform marketing for the monopolist for free. It is like paying for a galley seat and workout.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Yfrwlf (998822)
          Right, it's great advertising, etc etc, like you said, so M$ certainly could offer them money for agreeing to choose them over Linux. Just depends on how far M$ is willing to go and if they think it's worth it to do so.
      • The only people who "lose" in such a situation are the people who want the kids forced to use Linux instead of what they'd like. Personally, I don't really care what OS people use. If they want OS X, great. Windows, fine. Linux, sure.

        Here's the big question, though: do you really think the people who would use these laptops would rather have Linux? Or do you think they'd rather have the Windows environment that they are used to? And if they'd rather have the latter, who the hell are you to try to shove Linu

        • by LingNoi (1066278)

          I think you've completely missed the point.

          It's not about forcing people to use Linux. The kids will work on whatever laptops they're given.

          The point here is that the governments are going with the wrong solution because:

          - There isn't enough money for the windows solution to give every kid a laptop
          - Applications hosted over the internet is just dumb, if the internet connection dies no one can do their work.
          - If windows was given away for free Microsoft would most likely charge for the hosted apps.

          If anythin

      • by TheKidWho (705796)
        How do they lose? 90% of all desktops out there are running Windows. Face it, for ordinary desktop work, the world uses windows. Trust me, the people who want to use Linux will use Linux, but Linux isn't ready for the masses. Linux is for people who are willing to put the time into learning their system, and a majority of people could care less. Not everyone plans on becoming a developer/systems admin/insert computer related career here, however.

        I've been using Linux since 1999, and the year of Linux o
  • by atomicthumbs (824207) <atomicthumbs AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:38PM (#26097847) Homepage
    Doubt that this project will catch on.
    • Catch on? No. But it might catch fire!

    • Make it the six billion dollar laptop, add some bionic keyboard and peripheral replacements, and maybe a nuclear battery pack, and you've got yourself the makings of a hit TV series.

      Also, in season 3, you could bring in a bionic iBook for a few episodes, who'll get her own spinoff, but make sure it has Ben Browder in it so it'll get canceled after a season and a half.

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:39PM (#26097853)

    Of course.

    I have a feeling that is what the case will be. The teachers who have Windows desktops in their classrooms took one look at Linux and went "No. You give us Windows or the boxes will wind up collecting dust in the back of the classroom." And that was probably was what alot of the Independent Education software vendors said too. "We have thousands of man hours and workers tied up in this Windows only education software. We will not port our software to Linux. Put Windows on your boxes or we will take our business elsewhere."

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:42PM (#26097913) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, because ISVs often dictate the terms for government contracts.

    • by jbolden (176878) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:01PM (#26098123) Homepage

      QuantumG is correct also look at the quantities. 4m. 4m units you get to set terms to software vendors.

    • by ErkDemon (1202789)
      Suggested compromise: Placate teachers by keeping Windows XP on the initial batch of laptops, but install OpenOffice instead of MSOffice?
  • by meist3r (1061628) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:39PM (#26097861)
    Owning a netbook that merely runs a basic version of an operating sytem that the company itself wants to get rid off and as the only reason to chose over a full-scale FOSS option I get an MS version of Google Apps? No thanks, take the Linux computers and spend whatever you're saving on some Tux-savvy teachers.
  • Cloud == Cheaper?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:43PM (#26097945)
    I don't think so. It's just a nice way to guarantee that the government will have to buy and maintain some MS servers.
  • by Methlin (604355)
    The cheapest EEE should be around $380AUD which should leave plenty for bureaucratic overhead, graft, and kickbacks. However that's the Linux version, the ones that can actually run XP would be around $530AUD which is over budget.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2008 @07:50PM (#26098013)

    Sure, it's a tool, but wouldn't that $2 billion be better spent on smaller class sizes, better teachers, etc.?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      This is $500 per student. I'm assuming those are Australian dollars, so around $330 US dollars. That buys you somewhere between a quarter and a half of a teacher, for one year, per class of 30. Looking at some real numbers, the starting salary for a teacher in Australia is $41,109, or the same cost as 82 laptops. I couldn't find any data on the average class size in Australia, but buying 1/82 of a teacher per child doesn't sound like it would make much difference, especially since it would only last for
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Antony-Kyre (807195)

        Yeah, I guess you're right.

        But are there any studies showing that students having laptops improve their learning to justify such an expense?

        Do the students keep the laptops post-graduation?

        And, could some overcrowded schools benefit from more teachers to reduce class size? Not all schools, but some.

        And, where precisely is this money coming from? The taxpayers, right? Is Australia in a recession like America? Maybe it's time to conserve rather than spend.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by XDirtypunkX (1290358)

          Australia is very much a Keynesian oriented economy. Australia is also not currently in recession and has a budget surplus. We may not have a surplus when it's over and we may get dragged into recession by the rest of you, but for now the government can spend to keep the economy from going into recession. In fact, it's the Keynesian way :-).

          Because big government contracts coming from the budget surplus (or even a small temporary deficit) give the economy a much needed kick.

  • Especially with education. If it came down to it, I think they'd offer it for free to the schools in this situation rather than let Linux be used.
  • Summary incorrect (Score:5, Informative)

    by kaos07 (1113443) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:02PM (#26098135)

    to give a laptop to every school-aged child

    No, the policy is to give upper high school children in years 9-12 a laptop not "every school-aged child".

    • by deniable (76198)
      Last thing I heard, it was a $700 tax credit to parents that bought their kids a laptop. Is this a replacement for that? It looks like another election promise is morphing. Where does the year 9-12 bracket come from. That doesn't match any school I've seen. Must be an eastern states thing.
  • OK, so Micro$haft have come up with a cost model that in the short term "may" allow the laptops to be purchased for the same money, but ffs can't people look long term with this stuff and not just the initial up front cost.

    So you aren't paying the MS tax for office now, but instead you are just amoritising that cost over years of needing larger internet bandwidth to the "cloud". With some of the crap being bandied about down here lets go out on the edge and look at issues with this...
    - The ne

    • by Yfrwlf (998822) on Friday December 12, 2008 @08:37PM (#26098493)
      It's simple, Linux = free. Windows = cost. They want money, they're a business, that's why they push their product. Even if they sold it to them for free, M$ would still benefit from them using it.

      So, I don't need to see a cost analysis, and I definitely don't need to see one from M$ to try to justify their existence to me. Money should go into FOSS through paid development, bounties, and support. That should be what all institutions are geared towards, but instead they are stuck in the past.

      "Here's a government contract to make the FOSS equivalent of Reader Rabbit for students for our schools. We are now taking bids."

      That's the kind of stuff everyone should be seeing from their governments. The amount of money that every single school district spends on individual purchases for close source software, oftentimes it being the same software over and over and over again for all the licenses, would be enough money to pay developers to program every single piece of open source software schools would ever need all over the entire world a hundred times over, and what's more it would be a long-term investment instead of a flash in the pan. When governments wake up to this, the world will be a better place, but they won't wake up until citizens start waking them.

      P.S., of course you can apply it to all other branches of governments, to businesses, and everyone else. The amount of money thrown away for temporary software orgasms is astronomical. More cooperation is needed for the new age of software development.
      • It's simple, Linux = free. Windows = cost.

        Now when did retraining suddenly become free?

        "Here's a government contract to make the FOSS equivalent of Reader Rabbit for students for our schools. We are now taking bids."

        So...in other words, Linux isn't free.

        I'm kind of curious how much OSS code you actually contribute, as opposed to whining about how bad Microsoft is.

        • by LingNoi (1066278)

          From the article you didn't read..

          On the whole, Zymaris believes that embedding Windows architectures in the education system is an expensive resource vacuum.

          He claims that state education departments nationwide are spending a combined $100 million on Windows desktop refreshes every three or four years.

          Also, Why are you talking about re-training for? These are laptops for the kids not the teachers.

          Are you trying to suggest that a kid couldn't figure out how to open and use firefox or open office on a netboo

  • Wow, I thought Vista had terrible hardware requirements, but by deciding on Windows, they need a $2,000,000,000AU laptop to run it. What's next for Vista III? Someone will have to build Deep Thought?

  • We'll still charge you loads for the OS, but we'll let you use our "cloud applications" real cheap!

    What a load of horseshit.

    With Ubuntu and Open Office, they can have better OS and better software for free, and not have to rely on an internet connection all the time!
  • Microsoft itself claimed it will keep costs per unit down by hosting a lot of the educational software in the cloud

    "We'll have software that runs on the device but also leverage Live Services and other applications that run in the cloud."

    LITERALLY.

    Microsoft 1 :: Children 0

    At Redmond, WA, life is good...

  • I am Australian... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spandex_panda (1168381) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:01PM (#26099185)
    and I for one would make a phone call if I knew who to. I would recommend using Linux and in particular striking a deal for support from Ubuntu or Redhat to get a custom OS running on 10" eees or U100 Winds. This way you would pay ~$500 AUD for each and the OS would be top notch. An issue with the Linux on these little laptops is that it seems rushed together. Using a full fledged Linux distro with package management would empower kids like nothing else! What with 2 million kids banging away at python and the few of them who contribute patches contributing patches to Ubuntu it would be a very great thing! Next they support their parents and grandparents building and maintaining their Ubuntu Pcs ... I recommend Microsoft should pay to get Windows on these things!
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Friday December 12, 2008 @10:20PM (#26099299) Homepage
    Having all of your apps in a remote "cloud" cannot possibly be a good idea, at least for a school. How much are they going to have to beef up their network just for that alone?
  • by sarkeizen (106737) on Friday December 12, 2008 @11:53PM (#26099825) Journal

    But he revealed for the first time that cloud-based applications may be used alongside traditionally licensed software to make Microsoft-based tender proposals more attractive and cost-effective.

    âoeNot everything has to run [locally] on the device,â said Watson.

    âoeWeâ(TM)ll have software that runs on the device but also leverage Live Services and other applications that run in the cloud.â

    If it's a common educational application that could be run locally on the machine anyway. How is it cheaper to run it in the cloud? Remember the context here seems to be about the purchase price of the laptop. It's conceivable that MS is reducing support load but I doubt by very much.

    The cloud hosted application is going to have an ongoing cost that the local application isn't.

    To me this sounds like MS using a different delivery mechanism to justify a discount that would probably anger their other channel partners.

    But really it seems much cheaper to simply send an OS image to the laptop maker.

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