Microsoft added two new versions of its bare-bones Windows XP Starter Edition Tuesday, one in Arabic for the Egyptian market, the other targeted at Turkey.
Starter Edition is a pared-down operating system that Microsoft introduced last year aimed at countries where piracy is rampant and incomes are low. Counting the new editions released Tuesday, Starter Edition is now available in nine languages and 32 countries.
The Arabic and Turkish versions will be distributed in partnership with the governments of Egypt and Turkey, respectively.
As I have observed before, the Starter Editions seem to be mostly a sop to 3rd world goverments as opposed to real players on the local IT scene. More interesting is:
Starter Edition is one of three initiatives Microsoft’s using to get its wares in developing countries. The others: Local Language Program (LLP) and Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR).
The Local Language Program allows Windows and Microsoft’s Office suite to be localized using “skins” that overlay the English-language code.
The four-year-old MAR program, meanwhile, has been expanded to include not only non-profit system refurbishers, but also governments and commercial computer refurbishers worldwide. As part of MAR, Microsoft lets refurbishers install licensed copies of Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows 2000 Professional — both now obsolete by Microsoft’s standards — on old computers destined for schools, charitable organizations, and non-profit organizations.
MAR details here.