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Microsoft to give away PAYG Windows-based computers

Microsoft is planning to give away thousands of Windows-based PC (opens in new tab) in Russia on a subscription basis through its Unlimited Potential scheme which according to Microsoft's website is "about helping individuals and communities around the globe achieve their goals and dreams with relevant, accessible, and affordable technologies."

The software company will partner with Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (opens in new tab) (MTS) and is amongst a slew of similar partnerships that Microsoft has forged with firms in emerging markets in Brazil and in Mexico.

The MTS offer will reach 85 million customers and will consist of a PC with wireless broadband access as well as a number of web services.

Some have been accusing Microsoft of using such scheme to undermine the Open Source movement in countries, where Microsoft's doesn't have a commanding market share, by providing with a substantially cheaper option than in more mature countries.

According to the New York Times, the Unlimited Potential scheme derives from Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates' idea of "Creative capitalism" which suggests that for profit companies worldwide should work with governments and NGOs more closely.

Similar deals already exist in the UK, where you can buy a mobile phone and get a free laptop complete with Microsoft's Windows Vista for as little as £20 per month for 12 months only.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.