Thailand's Top Computer Manufacturer Sells Only Linux-Based PCs

In the United States, well over 90% of computers sold each year come preloaded with some form of the Windows operating system, but this isnit the case in other parts of the world. In Thailand, only 40% of desktop computers shipped in the second quarter of 2003 shipped with a licensed copy of Windows installed, according to an article at TechNewsWorld. In addition, Thailandis top computer manufacturer only sells computers running the Linux operating system.

In Thailand, the average annual income is around US$7000, while a copy of Microsoft Office and Windows runs US$600. This huge cost is driving computer users to either buy a computer preloaded with the much cheaper Linux OS, or to buy pirated copies of the Windows OS and Office suite on the street for around US$12.

The Thai government offered Microsoft the chance to get in on the Peopleis PC Project, but Microsoft refused to lower its prices. At least initially. Now that the government-backed Linux PC system is taking off, Microsoft has lowered its prices from US$600 for Windows and Office, to just US$37. From TechNewsWorld:

To prevent Linux from running away with Thailandis subsidized "peopleis PC project," Microsoft has dropped the price of its Windows and Office packages from nearly US$600 to $37. Other Asian countries are lining up to duplicate the Thai program. As a result of the events in Thailand, analysts have begun to predict the end of Microsoftis long-standing "one-price-fits-all-markets policy."

Significantly, first-time PC users in Thailand are finding the Linux Thai Language Edition easier to master than Windows. In a computer shop on the outskirts of Bangkok, Nalong Sripronsa is teaching his assistant how to install Linux Thai Language Edition OS on a secondhand Pentium PC. Nalong, manager of DCO Computer, has seen growing interest in Linux since the Thai government launched its peopleis PC project in May of this year.

The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is offering a million PCs preloaded with Linux StarOffice at rock-bottom prices to increase computer literacy in Thailand.

"Many people in Thailand have never used a PC before," Nalong told LinuxInsider. "They donit know the difference between Windows and Linux. If you go from Windows to Linux, it seems difficult, but for first-time PC users, the Thai edition of Linux is easier to learn than Windows." Nalong added that Microsoft has neglected the Thai market. The company only recently made Thai-language documentation available for beginners.

There is much more to read in the full article at TechNewsWorldis Web site.