In developed economies like ours, it seems unthinkable that a business or school could possibly have trouble affording computers -- especially when people here routinely pay more for high-end jeans at the mall than they would for a cheap PC at the local chain retailer.

But in developing economies like India's, computers aren't yet ubiquitous. So it's probably fitting that a Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) research center in Bangalore is reportedly working on a simple way to double the number of useable computers: divide the current one into virtual halves, each running separate apps and OS. Split the screen, plug in another mouse and keyboard, and, well, squint. Voila! Double the computing from a single desktop. (So long as both sides aren't running the latest resource-hogging programs, that is.)

It might sound nutty to us, but that's exactly why Microsoft, IBM (NASDAQ:IBM), Accenture (NYSE:ACN), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), and other companies find foreign think-tanks so crucial. It's not just about saving money -- it's about gaining a different worldview.

On the Redmond front, ideas like this, along with ultra-cheap Windows and productivity software ($3 a pop), are among the many reasons Microsoft may yet find itself with a real audience outside the developed world.

Seth is a member of the Motley Fool Global Gains team, which scours the world for the best investment opportunities. A free trial will show you what they're watching.

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At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had shares of Microsoft. See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Accenture and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Fool rules are here.