January 26, 2007 4:33 AM PST

Vista Starter ready for developing nations

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.
Microsoft announced Friday that it will launch a Starter edition of the Windows Vista operating system, geared toward customers in developing countries.

Called Windows Vista Starter, it is similar in concept to the Windows XP Starter Edition that Microsoft announced in June 2003: a version of the operating system that can run on lower-end processors, in numerous languages, with extra tutorials bundled for customers who may be using PCs for the first time. Starter Edition will be released Tuesday, alongside Vista's other consumer versions.

"Microsoft was founded on the idea of a computer on every desktop in every home," said Mike Wickstrand, director of product marketing for Microsoft's Market Expansion Group, adding that the Redmond, Wash.-based company has been working with "governments in emerging markets around the world to better understand what their needs were in improving access to technology for their citizens, and particularly for those citizens in the middle- and lower-income brackets within those countries."

According to Wickstrand, the Windows XP Starter Edition was marketed primarily to consumers in Southeast Asia, Russia and India, with particular focus on families with school-age children and those who had purchased their first computer. One of the most valuable assets of the product, he said, was that it was made available in local languages. Ultimately, Windows XP Starter Edition was released in 24 languages and was sold in more than 130 countries.

With the launch of Windows Vista Starter, Microsoft is expanding its initiative to make its products accessible to lower-income families in developing countries. It will be available in 70 languages and also feature an option that allows use of the operating system in different languages--if, for example, a parent wants to use the computer in his or her native language but the household's children want to use it in English.

The stripped-down Vista will also be able to run on a wider variety of processors than its XP predecessor, ranging from Intel's Celerons and older Pentiums to Advanced Micro Devices' Duron. While a 300MHz processor is recommended, the operating system can run on speeds as low as 233MHz.

Another feature of XP Starter Edition that has been expanded in Vista is the suite of support tools designed to provide answers to even the most basic questions. "In a developed market, we're used to having a lot of high-end users, a lot of technology enthusiasts; and these are definitely not technology enthusiasts," Wickstrand said. "A lot of these customers had never used a mouse before." With Windows Vista Starter, people will have the option of tutorials in their native languages or of watching a demonstration of the mouse clicking its way through the task in question.

Microsoft has high hopes for this edition of its new operating system.

"We're pretty enthusiastic about the customer and partner interest in the product overall," Wickstrand said. "When we take a look at XP Starter Edition, it took us a year and a half to sell our first half million (copies), six months to sell the next half million, and just three months to sell the third half million." The company says it is looking forward to similarly "aggressive growth" with Windows Vista Starter.

 

Correction: The original version of this story misidentifed the Product Expansion Group and the official name of Windows Vista Starter.

See more CNET content tagged:
developing country, language, tutorial, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Corp.

3 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
You know if they made this available in the US they would be supprised.
A scaled down version of Vista.

I might even slow down the masses migrating to Linux, BSD & Mac.

Not.
Posted by slim-1 (229 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yea
Yea all those billions of people. Still hands down no OS is perfect and its what you use the PC for. Windows will always be Prime for gaming, Like OSX is for Graphic Design. And Linux is good for those that like to show there skill with coding. All of you who say windows sucks due to viruses are kinda lame why would you write a code to affect few when you could do one that affects many. And Even though vista is the "Dark Side" of panther when they have drivers for SLI and the 8800s I will change over to it. Windows probably isn't going anywhere. Sorry kids.
Posted by {nHs}Shadow (1 comment )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.