BANGKOK, Thailand, Aug. 11, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a five-country pilot program for Windows® XP Starter Edition, a low-cost introduction to the Microsoft® Windows XP operating system designed for first-time desktop PC users in developing technology markets. Designed as a result of Microsoft’s ongoing collaborations with international governments, the Windows XP Starter Edition Pilot Program is part of Microsoft’s comprehensive commitment to enable individuals, communities and countries to gain access to the technology tools, skills and innovation they need to realize their potential. Windows XP Starter Edition will offer an affordable and easy-to-use entry point to the Windows family of products that is tailored to local markets, in local languages, and is compatible with a wide range of Windows-based applications and devices.
Starting in October 2004, Windows XP Starter Edition will ship on new, low-cost desktop PCs available through PC original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Microsoft OEM distributors in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Language versions will be available in Thai, Malay and Indonesian.
Windows XP Starter Edition will be the most affordable Windows operating system offered to date. Specific pricing information will be made available to participating PC OEMs and Microsoft Authorized OEM Distributors in the coming weeks. The remaining two countries in the five-country pilot program will be announced later this year following final discussions with governments and partners.
Microsoft will continue to work closely with participating governments to ensure that the pilot program is a success. The company is establishing a 12-month pilot phase to study and evaluate the benefits created for first-time PC users, software and hardware industry partners, participating governments, and Microsoft. After the 12-month pilot phase, Microsoft may introduce a local version of Starter Edition in additional developing markets in collaboration with governments committed to improving access to technology for their citizens.
“Microsoft Windows XP Starter Edition demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to collaborate with the Thai government to provide significant benefits for our citizens and their future,” said Dr. Surapong Suebwonglee, ICT minister of Thailand. “The development of Windows XP Starter Edition represents an encouraging step forward to help bridge the digital divide in our country by making software more available and more relevant for first-time PC users.”
The Benefits of Windows at a Lower Price Point
Windows XP Starter Edition offers a simple introduction to personal computing for consumers interested in buying an affordable first computer for their homes. The technology includes the following key features:
Localized and tailored support. Windows XP Starter Edition features a redesigned help system, called My Support, that includes a built-in, detailed Getting Started Guide. In addition, Windows XP Starter Edition includes a supplemental CD with local language instructional videos designed for first-time PC users.
Localized customization. With Windows XP Starter Edition, users can choose from country-specific wallpapers and screensavers with familiar landscapes, flags and geography-specific traditional designs.
Preconfigured settings. Windows XP Starter Edition will help reduce confusion regarding setup options for entry-level users by preconfiguring advanced settings and enabling the Windows Firewall by default.
Simplified task management. With Windows XP Starter Edition, first-time home PC users can have up to three programs and three windows per program running concurrently. Further simplification of the operating system includes the display resolution set to 800×600 maximum and no support for PC-to-PC home networking, sharing printers across a network or more advanced features such as the ability to establish multiple user accounts on a single PC.
Windows XP Starter Edition includes basic Windows XP features that allow users to take advantage of computing experiences such as the following that are popular with most first-time desktop PC users:
Internet connectivity, so users can access the Internet and browse the Web
Software and hardware compatibility, with a wide range of software applications and hardware devices such as printers, speakers and cameras
The intuitive Windows user interface that makes it easy for users to get up to speed quickly
Advanced security technologies delivered in Windows XP Service Pack 2 that will allow users to stay up to date and be more secure
Windows Messenger, which enables users to easily communicate with friends and family through real-time text messaging
Digital photography support with easy-to-use tools to help users store and share photos with family and friends, or make their own prints with one of the many printers supported by Windows XP
Windows Media® Player 9 Series, which allows users to listen to music and watch videos
Opportunity Created Through the Windows Ecosystem
In addition to the social benefits of digital inclusion, Windows XP Starter Edition also creates economic opportunities for system builders and ISVs that are partnering with local governments to deliver a tailored and localized solution built on the Windows platform.
Building Opportunity for Individuals and Communities
The Windows XP Starter Edition Pilot Program further builds on Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to deliver innovative programs that enable individuals, communities and nations to reach their potential by providing the technologies and education to become part of the global digital ecosystem. In addition to Windows XP Starter Edition, Microsoft recently announced the Local Language Program, a global initiative to partner with governments to localize Windows in 40 regional languages within the next year, which will double the number of languages supported by Windows. In addition, global programs such as Partners in Learning (PiL) and Unlimited Potential (UP) provide comprehensive IT curriculum development, training and access to technology in schools as well as aid work-force development by providing technology skills training through community technology and learning centers. Together, the PiL and UP programs aim to provide IT skills training to individuals in underserved communities around the world.
“Technology serves as a catalyzing force for economic and social change around the world, but too many countries still lack basic digital skills and access,” said Maggie Wilderotter, senior vice president of the Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft. “By providing a technology solution that is low-cost, tailored and localized, and delivered in a manner that meets country-specific needs, we hope to create opportunities for more global communities to realize the boundless social and economic potential of the digital ecosystem.”
“Microsoft is excited about announcing Windows XP Starter Edition in Thailand,” said Andrew McBean, general manager of Microsoft Thailand. “We have been honored to work together with the Thai government to deliver a tailored and localized offering for first-time users. These efforts have been guided by a process of ongoing collaboration and feedback from industry, governments and consumers.”
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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Windows XP Starter Edition
“Microsoft Windows XP Starter Edition demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to collaborate with the Thai government to provide significant benefits for our citizens and their future. The development of Windows XP Starter Edition represents an encouraging step forward to help bridge the digital divide in our country by making software more available and more relevant for first-time PC users.”
Dr. Surapong Suebwonglee, ICT Minister, Thailand
“We are pleased Microsoft acted on the feedback gathered from industry and government to develop a localized, easy-to-use version of Windows. Starter Edition will help us meet first-time PC customers’ unique needs while also creating additional market opportunities for our local ISV community and OEM distributors.”
Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool, Director, National Electronics and Computer Technology Center
“Our mission is to help strengthen and popularize the utilization of information and communications technology (ICT) among the Thai community, such that it becomes an integral part of everyday life whether for lifelong learning, business or entertainment. With strong support from the Thai government and provision of more affordable software from private corporations such as the low-cost Microsoft Windows XP Starter Edition operating system software, the ATCI is confident we can achieve our mission to make ICT ubiquitous.”
Sanpat Sopon, President, Association of Thai Computer Industry (ATCI)
“Microsoft continues to be one of the key players in the Thai ICT market due to its effort on product localization. For quite some time Microsoft has been known for easy-to-use programs and plug-and-play software for almost all devices. Like other Microsoft products, I believe the Windows XP Starter Edition pilot will work well in today’s Thai ICT environment. It will surely be one of the significant software products to help enable individuals, communities and nations develop into knowledge-based societies that capture their ICT potential.”
Anukul Tamprasirt, President, Association of Thai Software Industry (ATSI)
“The low-cost Microsoft Windows XP Starter Edition operating system software will have a great impact on the local Thai computer industry and consumers. As a leading global brand, the Microsoft operating system is always a first choice when consumers want to purchase a computer; however, cost has always been a prime factor in the purchasing decision. This new offering will put the local original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on a level playing ground. The new offering looks promising.”
Prateep Uersakcharoenkul, President, Association of Thai Computer Manufacturers (ATCM)
“The entry-level Windows operating system offered by Microsoft through this Windows XP Starter Edition is a boon for the industry and allows more companies to make technology available to the underserved communities in the country — especially in programs to bridge the digital divide and raise the overall PC penetration in the country.”
Lee Boon Kok, Deputy Chairman, The Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (PIKOM)
“Microsoft has played a significant role in supporting the government initiative in narrowing the digital divide and providing local language software development.”
His Excellency Hatta Radjasa, Minister of Research and Technology, Republic of Indonesia
“There are billions of people throughout the world who still don’t have access to technology, including many who live in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. We are working hand in hand with Microsoft on this exciting and tailored program and in other ways to offer the benefits of Intel-based computers to more and more people in emerging markets throughout the world.”
Gerry Greeve, Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific, Intel Corporation
“AMD is driving the development of affordable computing and communications technologies that create opportunities for people in high-growth regions of the world. We applaud Microsoft’s efforts to develop software solutions that are localized to meet the computing needs of key high-growth countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and we look forward to integrating Windows XP Starter Edition into our product development efforts.”
Iain Morris, Senior Vice President, Personal Connectivity Solutions Group, Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
“Windows XP Starter Edition will provide first-time users with great value and open up the opportunity for them to access a new world of information.”
Danny Chong, CEO, Techdos Systems Sdn Bhd
“We believe our customers — particularly first-time PC users, including senior citizens and those in the smaller towns and rural areas — will greatly benefit from the instructional videos and tutorials in Bahasa Melayu that are included with Windows XP Starter Edition.”
Khoo Shiuh Yuan, Director, Bluedot Systems Sdn Bhd
“For people with small budgets who want to own their first computer, Relion PC with Windows XP Starter Edition will provide them with a great value and open up the opportunity for them to access a new world of information.”
Djoenaidi, Director PT, Berca Cakra Teknologi
“Microsoft Windows XP Starter Edition is an excellent product for first-time computer owners who never had access before.”
Hendrik Tio, Director PT, Bhinneka Mentari Dimensi PT
“The price of Windows XP Starter Edition will allow Relion PC to reach new customers and help to narrow the digital gap.”
Hendrik Tio, Director PT, Bhinneka Mentari Dimensi PT
“The price of Windows XP Starter Edition will allow Wearnes PC to reach new customers and grow our business in ways that were previously unattainable.”
Lasmono, Director PT, Metrindo Supra Sinatria PT
“We believe our customers will greatly benefit from the instructional videos and tutorials in their local language that are included with Windows XP Starter Edition.”
Timothy Siddik, President Director PT, Zyrexindo Mandiri Buana
“For people with small budgets who want to own their first computer, Zyrex PC with Windows XP Starter Edition will provide them with a great value and open up the opportunity for them to access a new world of information.”
Timothy Siddik, President Director PT, Zyrexindo Mandiri Buana
“Beginner PC users can easily use any of the thousands of software programs and devices that are compatible with Arta PCs and Windows XP Starter Edition.”
Kharisma Shintara, Direktur PT, Arta Computer Center