Multilingual Windows XP Starter Edition comes to India

Microsoft Corp. has launched in India a multilingual version of Windows XP Starter Edition, its low-cost, stripped-down version of the Windows XP operating system, the company said Wednesday.

Users can switch between Tamil, Hindi or English interfaces, according to Meenu Handa, a spokeswoman for Microsoft India.

Nine local languages will be supported on the operating system by the end of this year, Handa said.

Microsoft also announced that HCL Infosystems Ltd., a PC vendor in Noida near Delhi, will be offering from April PCs based on the Starter Edition, on installments of about US$9 per month for an entry level PC. The PC will include Microsoft’s entry level productivity application called Works 8, anti-virus software and educational content. Broadband connectivity will be offered at additional cost.

Although the Starter Edition has been introduced in a number of emerging economies, this is the first time that the operating system will support multiple local languages and English, Microsoft said.

Microsoft of Redmond, Washington, launched the Starter Edition in Hindi in India last year. Versions of the Starter Edition in other Indian languages may also be considered depending on user response, the company said then.

A decision to include English as an option was taken after the company discovered a large base of users who preferred an English version, according to Handa. “We found out that while there was interest in local language computing, some parents wanted their children to use computers using the English language, so that they were better prepared for a global environment,” she said.