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Peru to try out Windows on XO laptops

South American country will become first to use One Laptop Per Child devices running Windows in pilot program.

Microsoft's Lieneke Schol shows off the XO laptop running Windows to Peru's education minister, Jose Antonio Chang Escobedo Microsoft

Microsoft and the One Laptop Per Child project announced Monday that Peru will be the first country to try out XO laptops running Microsoft Windows as part of a nine-month pilot program.

The companies said they are still trying to determine the size of the trial. Microsoft has been working for some time to port Windows onto the XO devices and the two companies announced in May that OLPC would start selling a Windows-based XO laptop to interested countries.

"We are extremely excited to take part in this historic educational pilot that will benefit school children throughout Peru," Peru's education minister, Jose Antonio Chang Escobedo, said in a statement. "Integrating technology into our school curriculum will help to advance our knowledge economy, improve access to information and will generate opportunities for our students, which, through governmental policies, aims to improve the learning process we are offering our children, as well as closing the digital divide which currently exists between schools in rural and urban areas."

OLPC had initially focused solely on Linux, but began working with Microsoft after a number of countries indicated that they were only interested in the XO if it could run Windows.

"This pilot in Peru represents an important milestone in the evolution of One Laptop per Child," said Charles Kane, president of One Laptop per Child, said in a statement. "It demonstrates our ability to collaborate with Microsoft to provide governments a choice of operating system on the XO laptop."

Microsoft, meanwhile, is working with XO, but has also backed the use of Windows on other education-oriented machines, such as Intel's Classmate PC. (Click here to read about the Bradesco Foundation school in Campinas, Brazil, which is using Windows-based Classmate PCs or here for CNET News' recent Borders of Computing series.)