Windows XP Starter Edition a Non Starter
BetaNews has confirmation that despite published reports, Microsoft is not preparing a major release of an entry level version of Windows dubbed Windows XP Starter Edition.
Windows enthusiasts speculated that Windows XP Starter Edition was a realignment of the software giant's Office and Windows releases with Office 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 2 that would effectively re-launch both products; however, Windows XP Starter Edition is merely the formal name given to a no-thrills version of the operating system that will be distributed exclusively in Thailand and Malaysia.
The Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) program was crafted by the government of Thailand to assist low-income earners to be able to afford their own PCs.
While first declining to participate in ITC, Microsoft has since shifted its tactics and offered up pricing incentives, a stripped down version of Windows XP Home and a specialized version of Office XP.
Rich tutorials are included for the benefit of first time PC buyers and Microsoft offers customers an upgrade path to the full retail version of Windows.
The first crop of ITC subsidized PCs came with Linux TLE and the OpenOffice.org productivity suite preinstalled. Linux TLE is a Thai language specific distribution of Linux that has gradually worked its way into the South East Asian marketplace, where open source software provides a viable alternative to software piracy.
A Microsoft spokesperson commented on the company's participation in ICT saying, "We look forward to seeing how this product will be received by Thai citizens, and the impact it will have on their efforts to enable access to technology."