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, an Education Department (ED) spokesman said the decision to subsidize student computers and enroll in the program is best left to individual states. Microsoft says states can apply.

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


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