I discussed this earlier today at the Lotus Leadership Alliance...the press release should be out on Wednesday US time or later in the week:

International Business Machines Corp. will try to sell a new package of low-priced computer desktop applications to companies and governments in Africa, challenging Microsoft Corp. and other rivals in the region.

IBM, which has been pushing into developing markets like Africa and Asia as mature markets slow, said the package -- which includes basic programs like word processing and email -- would be made available to customers via remote "cloud computing" facilities, meaning users could access the programs from the Web. It would cost $10 per month per user, and can run on so-called netbook computers, or low-cost PCs priced around $300.

IBM is working in collaboration with London-based Canonical Ltd., which makes Linux software and was started in South Africa. ..."If IBM keeps its part of the bargain and provides cloud-based applications at affordable prices then this service will revolutionize businesses in Africa," said Venansius Barya Baryamureeba, Dean of the Faculty of Computing and IT at Makerere University, Uganda, who has been briefed on IBM's plans. He said that currently, most African computer users rely on pirated software.

The IBM package will include its free Symphony package of word processing and other desktop applications, email and social-networking technology.
Would also expect Antony Satyadas to discuss this more at some point today, as he has been closely involved in the project.

Link: Wall Street Journal: IBM Markets Wares to Africa >

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