Microsoft Corp. rolled out Windows XP Starter Edition, its low-cost, stripped-down version of Windows XP for emerging economies, in India on Thursday.
The Starter Edition was introduced in Hindi, one of the main languages in India. The first deployments of PCs running the operating system will be in the Hindi-speaking state of Uttaranchal in north India, where the government will be offering PCs with the Starter Edition to employees, said Ranjivjit Singh, director of business and marketing operations at Microsoft India.
Microsoft is also negotiating with the governments of other Hindi-speaking states in India, Singh said. Versions of the Starter Edition in other Indian languages may be also considered depending on the user response, he added.
Last year Microsoft announced that India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia and Thailand would be test markets for the XP Starter Edition, and an edition for Brazil was announced earlier this year.
In India, Microsoft has partnered with Intel Corp. and HCL Infosystems Ltd., a large PC vendor based in Noida near Delhi, to configure PCs with the Starter Edition for the local market, Singh said. Intel has a large channel of unbranded-PC resellers called Genuine Intel Dealers that assemble and market PCs around Intel components in the country.
“Our focus has been to offer the first-time user a complete package that includes hardware, software and financing,” said Singh, adding that Microsoft has also tied up with banks for offering loans to buyers. A PC with an Intel Celeron processor at 2.4GHz, running the Windows XP Starter Edition, will cost about US$420, and is also available with a 20 per cent down payment cost and a monthly installment of about $9 for 48 months. The Starter Edition operating system will not be sold separately, Singh said.
Microsoft and partners are also offering other low-cost configurations of PCs around the Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition. “The Starter Edition is for the first-time user, and we expect them to down the line migrate to other configurations,” Singh said.
The Starter Edition offers Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Media Player and WordPad.