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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Windows goes Lite

Windows is set to come out with a pared down version of its operating system, Windows XP. Dubbed "Windows XP Starter Edition", this bare-back OS is designed for users in developing countries that could not afford to purchase the full licensed version of Windows XP.

This is an indication that Windows is starting to take notice of the important market in poor countries. In the Philippines, for example, many users would rather purchase a P100 pirated version of WinXP or even use the open source Linux instead of a prohibitively priced Windows XP. Now, with Windows XP Lite, it's at least a bit easier to access legal software.

XP Lite doesn't have all the features of the regular WinXP. It's best suited for begginer users. It has a souped up tutorials section. But there are limiting factors. For example, users can open only up to 3 applications onscreen at a time, and users can't install Instant Messaging.

Microsoft is marketing Windows Lite in pilot countries Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in the next few months. Russian and Indian versions will soon be available.

Given its limitations, I think Windows Lite won't gain much popularity in the Philippines. There are just too many options (read: many stalls in Greenhills) and an XP Lite seems still prohibitive -- if not for the price, maybe for the software limitations. In the remote possibility that Windows comes out with a WinXP Lite Visayan or Tagalog edition -- maybe Filipinos will consider using that.

Let's see how it turns out. Malay natin, it just might be what our barrio internet cafes need.

- Edwin

Reference: "Microsoft Offers Low-Cost Ware in Asia Project," by Rebecca Buckman, page A8, 2 November 2004, Asian Wall Street Journal.

Search: Windows XP Starter Edition


  • At 9:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This has been mentioned countless of times already but I'll say it again... this will not solve whatever MS is trying to achieve. The barrios of internet cafes by default contain already applications like irc, YM, AIM, Chikka and countless other programs and spywares which goes beyond the limit.

    But nice try nonetheless for MS.

    work | art | mind


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