MS will offer "XP Lite" in Asia
Microsoft will begin offering a basic, lightweight version of Windows XP called Windows XP Starter Edition in some Asian countries beginning in October.
BANGKOK, Thailand -- Aug. 11, 2004 -- Microsoft Corp. today announced a five-country pilot program for Windows® XP Starter Edition, a low-cost introduction to the Microsoft® Windows XP operating system designed for first-time desktop PC users in developing technology markets. Designed as a result of Microsoft's ongoing collaborations with international governments, the Windows XP Starter Edition Pilot Program is part of Microsoft's comprehensive commitment to enable individuals, communities and countries to gain access to the technology tools, skills and innovation they need to realize their potential. Windows XP Starter Edition will offer an affordable and easy-to-use entry point to the Windows family of products that is tailored to local markets, in local languages, and is compatible with a wide range of Windows-based applications and devices.
Analysts see this move by Microsoft as a preemptive strike against Linux, which is Open Source and free. Moreover, Microsoft is hoping that a lower-priced version of Windows will help fight software piracy which is rampant in Asian countries where many software products are too expensive for users to purchase on their own.