Microsoft has named India as the next market for its stripped-down version of XP, with shipping expected to begin early next year.
XP Starter Edition is Microsoft's answer to the high rates of software piracy that have plagued it in developing markets. The company has already announced that the product will ship in Russia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The idea is that people will opt for a genuine rather than pirated product, if the price is right. However, this summer, Gartner warned that the package could actually boost piracy. It recommended that users avoid the cut-down package because it lacks a proper upgrade path to the full featured version of XP.
As with the Russian distribution, anyone wanting to get a copy of the starter edition will have to fork out for a PC, and the software is only available pre-loaded on OEM kit. Microsoft describes it as "a simple introduction to personal computing for consumers interested in buying an affordable first computer for their homes".
The software is pre-configured with the firewall switched by default. It also has a more detailed Getting Started section and better help functions, to make it easy for non-techies to get going, the company says.
More details on the Indian pilot scheme and XP Starter Edition are available here. ®