Microsoft Builds Bare-Bones XP For Hispanic Market

Microsoft launches a low-cost Spanish-language version of Windows XP in Mexican market, and says it will push it to other Latin American countries.
Microsoft on Tuesday launched a bare-bones, low-cost version of Windows XP for the Mexican market, and said it planned to push the Spanish-language edition to other Latin American countries.

Windows XP Starter Edition, a pared-down version of the operating system that Microsoft's rolled out in countries where piracy is rampant and incomes are low, will be packaged with new PCs sold by U.S.-based Dell and local computer manufacturers Texa, Lanix, and Hergo.

Previously, Microsoft had introduced Starter Edition in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, and Thailand.

The operating system -- which can run only three programs simultaneously -- features customized support and help in Spanish, a localized user interface with Mexico-specific wallpaper and screensavers, and pre-configured settings so beginners don't need to tweak the system.

According to research firm IDC, half of Mexico's population belongs to low or very-low income groups, and only six percent of homes in the country own PCs.

"If Windows XP Starter Edition is accompanied by a similar effort to innovate the rest of the components in a PC to make it more accessible, [it[ will have an impact on the market," claimed Ricardo Zermeo, the chief executive of IDC in Mexico.

In Mexico, the price of Windows XP Home at retail is equivalent to the average worker's monthly salary. Starter Edition, however, will not be sold in boxed editions, only bundled with PCs.

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