Vista Starter Edition Also Due Jan. 30

When Vista launches on Tuesday, Microsoft will simultaneously release a version of the operating system aimed at developing markets. The operating system would be designed for lower-end processors and include tutorials for those who may be using their first computer.

Microsoft did something similar in June 2004 when it released Windows XP Starter Edition. That version was initially made available in Southeast Asia, Russia and India, although was eventually sold in 130 countries in 24 languages.

Vista Starter Edition will follow a similar path, although the release will be offered in some 70 languages. It would also allow the computer to be used in multiple languages depending on each individual user's preferences.

Unlike its bigger brother, which requires at least an 800MHz processor to run effectively, Vista Starter Edition recommends a 300MHz processor be used, although it may be run on processors as slow as 233MHz.

The tutorials would guide users through all facets of computer use, including how to use a mouse and perform other functions. Microsoft says such guidance is necessary as many users of the software have never used a computer before.

According to Microsoft, customer interest in XP Starter Edition gives it hope that adoption of Vista would be quick even in developing countries. While it took 18 months to sell the first half million copies of XP Starter, it only took six months to sell the next half-million, and three months to sell the third half-million.

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