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Microsoft to expand cheap Windows offer

Aiming to foil the advent of Linux and attack software piracy in emerging markets, Microsoft plans to expand its cheap Windows XP Starter Edition offer to more countries, a company executive said Thursday. Windows XP Starter Edition is a version of the operating system designed for a specific market that is easy to use, support and sell, Will Poole, senior vice president of Microsoft's Windows Client group said in a presentation at the company's annual financial analyst meeting here.

Microsoft is already working with the governments in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to offer the version of Windows, which has a "lower price appropriate for the emerging market needs," Poole said. While the Starter Edition is still a pilot project, Microsoft does plan to offer the software in other countries as well, he said.

Microsoft has identified emerging markets as a major sales opportunity partly because PC penetration in those countries is low. In the U.S. about 60 percent of households have a PC, in Western Europe about 30 percent have a PC, but in India the figure is below 2 percent, while Russia and China are below 5 percent and Brazil is at about 10 percent, Poole said, citing IDC figures.

News source: InfoWorld

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