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Microsoft Continues Antipiracy Push with Windows Starter Edition

Discussion in 'General Marketing' started by ovi, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. ovi

    ovi Guest

    Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT - news) has launched the first Spanish version of
    Windows XP Starter Edition, targeting Mexico and the emerging Latin America PC market with a stripped-down version of the company's flagship operating system.
    Starter Edition now is available in six flavors, having been rolled out already in the Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Russian and Indian markets. The OS is designed for first-time PC users, and is customized for each target audience.

    Basic Computing

    Faced with increasing competition from the open-source
    Linux operating system as well as pirated versions of its own software, Microsoft's strategy is to deliver a low-cost alternative to users and local manufacturers worldwide.

    The XP Starter Edition offers basic Internet, e-mail access, instant messaging and a Windows Media player. But the system software can run only three applications at time, lacks home-networking capabilities and offers inferior graphics compared to more costly Windows products.

    Still, the software provides foreign-language support, localized user interfaces and preconfigured settings for more advanced options, such as an automatically enabled firewall.

    Slow Start

    The idea is to encourage local PC manufacturers to install the Windows OS in the factory because most machines in emerging markets like India, Russia and China don't ship their products with an operating system installed, said Forrester Research analyst Simon Yates.

    "There hasn't been much traction yet with Starter Edition, but Microsoft has to combat the proliferation of illegal, free versions of its software available in these markets," he said. "Linux is also making inroads, and Microsoft has to deal with the fact that, even at $99, Windows is too costly for most users."

    The software giant has set its sights on convincing government agencies and educational institutions that adopting the Windows platform is the preferred course of action as the number of PC users increases, Yates said.

    Challenges Ahead

    In creating a low-cost Windows XP edition, Microsoft faces several significant hurdles, said Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio. Although it has tried to address piracy with strategy, DiDio said that users have become so accustomed to buying pirated software that Microsoft might find it exceedingly difficult to get a legitimate version into buyers' hands.

    "In Russia especially, it's a huge challenge to get people to buy this edition rather than just pirate the full version," she noted. "With a pirated version, they'd get more features for the same price, so why wouldn't they go that way?"

    Cultural differences present another difficulty in tapping into some markets, added DiDio. In several Asian countries there is a movement toward Linux, although open-source software has yet to capture significant market share.

    But it is possible that Microsoft will succeed eventually. "Microsoft knows that it's not 'one world, one price,' so they're trying to be flexible," DiDio said. "It's likely that if they just keep advancing their strategy, they'll get the adoption they want."

    Source: toptechnews.com

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