Today the government of Peru, Microsoft and the OLPC announced the first official pilot of XO laptops running Microsoft Windows. This was expected of course, but it marks the beginning of a major shift away from Sugar / Linux—although both will remain as dual boot options for the foreseeable future. It also represents a major step for Microsoft who stand to gain a strong foothold in the developing world.
Peru is the first country in the world to receive Windows based laptops through the OLPC program Lima, Peru - September 15, 2008. - Today, José Antonio Chang Escobedo, Peru's Education Minister, announced the agreement between Microsoft and the One Laptop per Child Association (OLPC). This agreement aims to provide programs such as Windows XP and Office, as well as other educational resources, which will be made available on laptop computers for students. This makes Peru the first country in the world to have XO devices based on Microsoft Windows. The agreement is part of a nine-month pilot project to integrate educational software, low-cost computing, and technology training into classrooms throughout Peru. This marks a significant milestone as the first Microsoft Windows-based XO deployment in the world, representing the first of ongoing pilots in key markets previously announced by Microsoft and OLPC in May of this year. "We are extremely excited to take part in this historic educational pilot that will benefit school children throughout Peru," said José Antonio Chang Escobedo, Minister of Education in Peru. "Integrating technology into our school curriculum will help to advance our knowledge economy, improve access to information and will generate opportunities for our students, which, through governmental policies, aims to improve the learning process we are offering our children, as well as closing the digital divide which currently exists between schools in rural and urban areas." "The world-class software offered through the Microsoft Student Innovation Suite coupled with the training offered through this project provides a powerful and well-supported set of tools to help young people realize their full potential. Along with the Ministry of Education of Peru and OLPC, we are delivering a complete, relevant and affordable educational computing solution to schoolchildren in Peru who will now have the opportunity to experience the benefits that technology can provide. As such, we underline the importance of transforming education as a fundamental goal of Microsoft Unlimited Potential, our ambitious effort to bring sustained social and economic opportunity to people who currently don't enjoy the benefits of technology", outlined Lieneke Schol, Public Sector Lead, Microsoft Multi Country Americas. "This pilot in Peru represents an important milestone in the evolution of One Laptop per Child," said Charles Kane, President of One Laptop per Child. "It demonstrates our ability to collaborate with Microsoft to provide governments a choice of operating system on the XO laptop." XO Laptops used in this pilot will come pre-installed with Windows in order to facilitate the OLPC's job of delivering them to the Ministry of Education of Peru, which will then provide them to school age children, to be used for educational purposes. They will be made available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the useful life of the device and while the child follows through with the school calendar year. The main advantage of the XOs with Microsoft Windows is that students can learn using a widely recognized universal tool which represents a window to the globalized world. Offered through Microsoft Unlimited Potential, the Student Innovation Suite is a collection of Microsoft's best education software offerings designed to help implement sustainable technology programs in partnership with governments and non-governmental organizations that benefit students and transform the educational opportunities in their communities. The education suite includes Windows XP Pro, Microsoft Office 2003 Standard, and Learning Essentials 1.0 for Microsoft Office.