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Microsoft Brings XP To Affordable Portuguese Computer

October 3, 2008

Microsoft unveiled on Friday a new software package created to run on a new line of affordable, slimmed-down laptops made for Portuguese school children.

Portugal’s ultra-cheap “Magellan” laptop began entering public schools last month. The government’s goal is to distribute 500,000 of the personal computers to children at home and export it to countries in Latin America and Africa.

“This is a unique, amazing and wonderful program on a global scale,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the presentation. “It’s a great example to show how the private and public sectors can work together to create new opportunities.”

Ballmer referred to the software package as “Suite Magellan”. It includes Windows XP and Office in addition to development applications, free email and instant messaging.

“We all know that one of the fundamental keys for the country to progress lies in technology,” said Portuguese Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates. “We all know that the presence of computers in schools boosts education.”

Socrates has made it a priority of his administration to improve the level of education and technology at schools.

The government hopes the Magellan project, named after the 16th century Portuguese explorer, will raise computer access at schools to two students per computer by 2010, up from five now.

Ballmer said the Magellan project could help create a platform for the computer industry development in Portugal.

“This is an important step forward for Portugal’s high-tech industry,” Ballmer said.

Assembled in Portugal by a company called JP Sa Couto, the computer is based on Intel’s own trimmed-down laptop, the Classmate PC.

The computers also went on public sale in Portugal last week for 285 euros ($394).

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