Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates signed a cooperation agreement with UNESCO on Wednesday to improve access to computers, the Internet and information technology training in developing countries.
The Microsoft co-founder and Koichiro Matsuura, head of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, signed the deal at a meeting in Paris.
Under the agreement, Microsoft and UNESCO will work together to increase computer literacy in poorer countries and to expand the contribution of computers to economic development. "Our shared goal is to help remove barriers to digital inclusion and enable people around the world to realize the full potential of technology,'' Gates said.
The agreement also focuses on training teachers and other professionals to use computers to share information. The Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft already offers IT educational programs under its Partners in Learning and Unlimited Potential initiatives.
The UNESCO agreement comes at a time when the world's largest software provider is facing a growing challenge to its Windows operating systems from Linux and other "open source'' alternatives, so called because their underlying code is freely shared.
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News source: Eweek