Windows XP Starter Edition Targeted At Select Markets


Dubbed Windows XP Starter Edition, the new version is slated to ship on low-cost PCs and be available to OEMs and OEM distributors in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and two other unidentified developing countries starting in October, Microsoft said Tuesday.

Microsoft said it's working with the governments of two other nation and expects to have them on board with a pilot program by the year's end. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant declined to disclose pricing.

Designed for first-time desktop PC users, Windows XP Starter Edition offers basic Windows capabilities such as Web browsing, task management, Windows Messenger and Windows Media Player 9. However, the stripped-down operating system allows users to have only up to three programs and three windows per program running concurrently, and it doesn't support PC-to-PC home networking, according to Microsoft. The software, though, will offer localized, tailored support--including a redesigned help system--as well as local language support, the company said.

One European solution provider applauded the move as a way for Microsoft to increase revenue globally and compete more aggressively with open-source alternatives.

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"This is a good way to turn piracy into software sales in developing markets, and it will also give customers an even stronger reason for going with Microsoft instead of Linux and StarOffice," said Per Werngren, CEO of IDE, a Microsoft partner based in Stockholm, Sweden. "This is probably something that was necessary to do in order to get some kind of increased revenue stream, because those governments do not fight piracy as strongly as Western countries do."