Microsoft plans to invest $235 million in its Partners in Learning program over the next five years

Microsoft spends a fortune to get its software and computers using its applications into classrooms and other organizations around the world. While some see it as a philanthropic gesture to help improve education in developing countries, many see it as an attempt to broaden Microsoft’s reach by bringing up new generations of children to use its products.

Microsoft announced that it will spend $235 million USD over the next five years to expand its educational program into classrooms around the world. One of the main systems that Microsoft will help get into organizations around the world is the Intel Classmate PC.

Reuters reports that Microsoft plans to reach 270 million people with this second stage of its "Partners in Learning" program. Microsoft says it hopes to reach the first billion of the five billion people with little or no access to technology by 2015.

Orlando Ayala, Microsoft “Unlimited Potential” group head, told Reuters, “It's not only getting the computer but all the other elements in the strategy. It's about how much we're able to empower people. This can't be done by a single company."

Microsoft’s plan includes more than simply placing the computers into the classroom and other organizations around the world. It also plans to train teachers and influence education policy with the program victims.

Microsoft was in the news in early 2007 when it announced it would sell its popular applications like Windows XP and Office Home to users in developing countries for as little as $3.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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