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Microsoft Attempts to Woo Students With 'Crowdsourced' Laptops 128

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the dear-aunt-gates dept.
theodp writes "Q. What do Chris Brown and Steve Ballmer have in common? A. They both want you to Beg for It. GeekWire reports that Microsoft is touting its new Chip In program, a crowdfunding platform that allows students to 'beg' for select Windows 8 PCs and tablets that they can't afford on their own. Blair Hanley Frank explains, 'Students go to the Chip In website and choose one of the 20 computers and tablets that have been pre-selected by Microsoft. Microsoft chips in 10% of the price right off the bat, and then students are given a link to a "giving page" to send out to anyone they think might give them money. Once their computer is fully funded, Microsoft ships it to them.' Hey, what could go wrong?"
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Microsoft Attempts to Woo Students With 'Crowdsourced' Laptops

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:24AM (#43914319) Homepage Journal

    Then I don't think anyone wants one. Begging and debasing yourself for a computer makes sense, if you really need one. Doing it for a computer that suffers from delusions of being a tablet? What's the point?

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:24AM (#43914325)
    Can we just beg for them to:
    Remove Windows 8 from a laptop we already bought
    Make Windows 8 and 8.1 (so basically 8.2) not suck so badly
    or just beg for them to stop begging us to beg them for Windows 8 machines.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:26AM (#43914341)

    Who in their right minds wants a Windows 8 laptop ?

    I'd rather have a damp pizza.

  • Spam (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Big Hairy Ian (1155547) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:28AM (#43914365)
    So it's a 10% discount for spamming your contact list
    • Re:Spam (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Krojack (575051) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:42AM (#43914499)

      And microsoft then sells your list of contacts to marketers or uses it themselves to spam.

    • Re:Spam (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:46AM (#43914549)

      The funny thing is, this is for college "kids"... in other words -- grown fucking adults.

      When I saw the shitty Slashdot blurb, I assumed this was going to be for disadvantaged children or something. Instead, it's for those poor unfortunate ADULTS who are so disenfranchised and disadvantaged that they're attending (through one manner or another) tens of thousands of dollars for college tuition and related expenses, but need to beg and spam people for the $600 for a laptop.

      Ridiculous.

      • Re:Spam (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:54AM (#43914619)

        That those same loans would cover in fact. I know, I bought a laptop that way once. I had no working computer and needed it to do my university homework.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The funny thing is, this is for college "kids"... in other words -- grown fucking adults.

        Wow, with an attitude like that, you must've been a fucking hoot in your college days. Were you BORN an old man or something?

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        The funny thing is, this is for college "kids"... in other words -- grown fucking adults.

        When I saw the shitty Slashdot blurb, I assumed this was going to be for disadvantaged children or something. Instead, it's for those poor unfortunate ADULTS who are so disenfranchised and disadvantaged that they're attending (through one manner or another) tens of thousands of dollars for college tuition and related expenses, but need to beg and spam people for the $600 for a laptop.

        Not to mention a perfectly usable PC

        • by Pubstar (2525396)
          The laptop I use as a portable lighting console, DJ tools, and for my class work cost me $350 (some Core 2 duo with 4GB ram and a 250GB hdd). I bought the thing in 2008, and it's still running great. Students don't need need the expensive laptops they are pushing on them. Do note that I own a desktop that runs about $1600 new though.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The funny thing is, this is for college "kids"... in other words -- grown fucking adults.

        Since when is the average college student anything even remotely resembling an adult?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Since when is the average adult anything remotely resembling an adult?

      • A lot of top-tier colleges actually offer so much financial aid that the tuition is almost nonexistent as long as you/your parents don't make too much money.
    • by dmomo (256005)

      If people are willing to sell their friends out for another silly turn at crushing some candy, I worry what they will do to save actual money!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:28AM (#43914373)

    This almost reminds me of all those e-mails from way back when that say if you forward the e-mail to 10 or so friends, Bill Gates will send you a free PC. I'm already very suspect of any e-mail asking for money, even if it is from someone I know.

    • So it was true! Shopes was wtrong.
    • Glad I wasn't the only one to instantly make that connection. :D
    • by Krojack (575051) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:45AM (#43914533)

      I can already hear the Internet scams popping up right now.

      You go to some family get-together.
      Uncle: Hey Jimmy, I got that message about the laptop you wanted. I donated $300 for you!
      Jimmy: Umm, I never signed up for any laptop nor did I send you a request to donate to buy one for me.
      *crickets*

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The way that Jimmy seemed already prepared with that statement, not caught off guard at all, makes me think he was in on it.

        Also, the sound of crickets imply this "get-together" was at night and outside, a park perhaps? It's seems that the Uncle suspected Jimmy the whole time, too, considering the time and place the event was setup. The uncle may have wanted to meet at a place with no witnesses, to confront Jimmy, lynch him, and then later dispose of his body.He probably invited you along to "get your hands

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:31AM (#43914401)
    You could end up with a laptop with Windows 8 on it.
  • by intermodal (534361) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:35AM (#43914439) Homepage Journal

    ...but it really doesn't help when this kind of project tries to get people to turn it into spam. Want to drive your early 1980s Vanagon through China on the Silk Road, and write a book about the experience? Good project for crowdsourcing (but didn't make its kickstarter goal). Want to record an album with your band or film a documentary on something super-nerdy? By all means give it a shot.

    Poor student wanting to buy a device Microsoft picked for you? Just makes the whole concept of crowdsourcing look like what it is: begging. The appeal of crowdsourcing, in my opinion, is that if the project succeeds, something fun, interesting, or exciting gets brought back that the people who helped it happen get to enjoy. Not just the person who gathered the funds.

    • Indeed. If this kinda thing is crowdsourcing, then at some point those fund-raisers you participated in to raise money for the band trip in high school can be called crowdsourcing too.
      • It is, in the purest linguistic sense. Just as the Microsoft strategy is.

        I think what separates what people are usually referring to as "crowdsourcing" and just general begging and fundraising is that generally people are expecting some kind of return on their investment when they go someplace like Kickstarter, even if it is just the privilege of purchasing the album/book/film or tickets to the film/whatever. It's more about being part of a project that the donor feels is worthwhile from but may not other

    • This is not crowdsourcing. I see the point of crowdsourcing as raising money for a shared goal or interest. Most crowdsourced projects have a reward or return for the investor. But with this? What does any contributor get back or what's the shared vision? It is just outright begging. It's embarrasing.
      • by femtobyte (710429) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @12:25PM (#43915515)

        This is worse than begging --- this is *lobbying*. You're not asking for the computer you'd particularly want given the whole world of available choices; you're working on behalf of Microsoft to provide advertising for Microsoft so that people will give money to Microsoft, and in return you get a crappy device that's not what you and your family/friends would have decided to spend the same $X00 on in the first place.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:41AM (#43914493) Homepage
    1. microsoft already enjoys lock-in at most universities and private colleges. shit like outlook and sharepoint has unfortunately shoved years of well-maintained unix to the roadside in an effort for universities to seem more cutting edge. protracted multi-month outages (ahem, University of Kentucky) requiring expensive consultants drive alongside patch tuesday now in the race to time best wasted.
    2. 90% of the engineering labs, the ones we slashdotters fondly pine for, are sadly Microsft lock stock and barrel. each desltop basically exists as a $500 PuTTY workstation.

    id be willing to guess microsoft is trying to reduce the amount of apple on campus. in the arm and in the backpack of millions of students rests the most egregious chunk of the student loan, the macbook. Microsoft wants that few inches of space so badly they can taste the sweat off steves greasy forehead, but theyve failed catastrophically in the past and if history is any indicator, this will just serve to ever cement microsoft as the spreadsheet king. the Zune was a godless abortion, the netbook was an underpowered way to piss off university hackers, and the tablets are about the only thing left until you realize apple has been doing it better for years. Now we're going for the laptops...and its worth noting most $college macbooks run XP or 7 so as to comply with university requirements for courseware. Make no mistake however, they roll back over to mac whenever theres a party and someone needs to fire up a jukebox playlist fitting for kegstands.

    making college kids beg wont work. at the end of the day sure, theyre accustomed to it with their parents but microsoft doesnt represent anything they inherently need that they cant already download off bittorrent or use a lab for. victory has defeated you microsoft, your ubiquity is the titration point at which college students simply dont care about your products. they all know windows, they all use it, but there is no fundamental 'want' or drive you can possibly conjure up that will spur kids to fall to their knees the way steve jobs could get them to.
    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:54AM (#43914635)

      1. microsoft already enjoys lock-in at most universities and private colleges. shit like outlook and sharepoint has unfortunately shoved years of well-maintained unix to the roadside in an effort for universities to seem more cutting edge. protracted multi-month outages (ahem, University of Kentucky) requiring expensive consultants drive alongside patch tuesday now in the race to time best wasted.

      I can only speak for what I see at my university; but I don't think this is really as prevalent anymore. I think too many schools got burned by experiences such as the one you refer to.

      Now Microsoft does still try to do this, but they don't have the leverage they once did. On our campus Microsoft did schmooze the previous president to get Live included as an offering; but with the students Gmail is king and Dropbox is queen. The only people I know using Outlook and the other MS cloud options are some staff members for whom it's been the only email they've ever known.

    • each desltop basically exists as a $500 PuTTY workstation.

      That's not such a bad deal considering how much dumb and X terminals cost back in the day.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:46AM (#43914541)

    But I couldn't find the MacBook Pro running Windows 8 via Boot Camp.

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      But I couldn't find the MacBook Pro running Windows 8 via Boot Camp.

      Get your dirty hands off my macbook!

      (It's for testing, it's the only Windows 8 install I have, I swear!)

  • I am beging MS to add modern mix and start 8 to the base os in windows 8.1 or newer.

  • Enter the Gift economy

  • need more hardware choice (to many systems with an small 128gb SSD) and why is cpu speed hidden on so meany of the systems. Also most of the system only have Intel video.

  • they contribute 10%
    why not just let microsoft foot part of the bill, and then you pay for the rest yourself (assuming you can afford it)?
    is this better than not having any laptop?

  • It's from a Nigerian prince asking for help for a laptop.

  • Here we go again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @11:22AM (#43914947)

    Microsoft with another new half baked idea.
    Painful to watch and execute me too ad campaign.
    A day late and a dollar short.
    Say what you will about them, the fuckers are consistent.

  • Please let me know when Porsche adopts this model.

  • Sweet! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @11:45AM (#43915143) Homepage

    That 10% discount is almost as much money as you could save by forgoing Windows for something useable and free.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      That 10% discount is almost as much money as you could save by forgoing Windows for something useable and free.

      It's also as much (or less than) you could save by simply shopping around at other computer retailers online instead of buying from Microsoft's partners in this I bet.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @11:46AM (#43915153) Homepage
    I think it's interesting the way they're describing this. "Windows has already contributed 10% off the PC cost." Not "Microsoft" the company, but "Windows" the operating system. As if the software itself were somehow tapping into a bank account to contribute. Is Microsoft trying to avoid its own brand here? (All of which is just a bunch of marketing nonsense. Microsoft isn't "chipping in" 10%; it's offering a 10% discount. In exchange for... your personal info, and that of your friends and family with money.)
  • Aside from the Win8 issue. I don't see how this is a bad idea. Graduating highschool students do this all the time. They tell their relatives and friends of the family that they are graduating or whatever, everyone sends them a few bucks and then the graduate can use this money to buy something. I can totally imagine sending out and email to everyone I know saying my kid needs a new laptop for college and to chip in just a few cents or whatever you can afford.

  • Windows 8: so bad, they can't even *give* it away!

  • Begging for Windows 8? That's got to be a real case of scraping the bottom of the barrel.

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