Microsoft Readies Two More Cut-Rate Windows Bundles

Redmond is rolling out 'Windows XP Starter Edition' releases that are aimed at thwarting Linux and piracy in developing countries.

Microsoft is making good on its promise to find ways to sell more copies of Windows overseas.

On Tuesday night, company officials reiterated Microsofts previously stated commitments to offer cut-rate Windows bundles in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. But Microsoft also is poised to roll out cheap, stripped-down Windows releases in two additional countries before the end of this year, company officials said.

While Microsoft officials refused to specify the next two countries to get "XP Starter Edition" releases, the most likely candidates are Russia, Brazil, India and China.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about the XP Starter Edition.

Microsoft is counting on growing the market for Windows overseas in order to sustain momentum for the product. At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference this Windows Client Product Management Group VP Tom Button called out these four countries as the Windows client units top targets. Windows client officials have said repeatedly that Microsoft is working to establish new business models in these and other emerging markets where the focus will be on making PCs more affordable, accessible and durable.

The XP Starter Kit "is a tailored version of Windows that is designed specifically to be easier to use, easier to support, easier to sell, and to have a lower price that is appropriate for the emerging market needs," Microsoft Windows client vice president Will Poole told financial analysts in late July.

In the summer of 2003, in response to the success that Linux was having in the Thai marketplace, Microsoft began offering Thai citizens a Thai-localized bundle of Microsoft Windows XP Home and Office XP Standard. As part of the deal, Microsoft also stripped out some unspecified features from both products and slashed the price for the pair to 1,500 Thai Baht, or about $38 U.S. Microsoft Windows XP Home sells at retail for $225; Office XP Standard retails for $499.

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