Building on existing efforts to bridge the digital divide worldwide, software giant Microsoft Corp. is offering a $3 software package to governments that subsidize student computers used at home and at school.

Though the United States is eligible to participate in the program, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) said the decision to subsidize student computers and enroll in the program is best left to individual states.

The program aims to provide governments around the world with inexpensive versions of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system and other educational programs for students to use on laptops or other mobile...

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