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Vista to take a cue from budget Windows

Microsoft will put a feature from XP Starter, aimed at emerging markets, in the upcoming update.

Microsoft is sprinkling some features from Windows XP Starter Edition into Windows Vista, the next generation of its operating system.

The software maker plans to take the video help feature in XP Starter, which is geared to PC users in emerging markets, and put it into all versions of Vista, said Mike Wickstrand, a director for Windows Starter at Microsoft.

"This is 'trickle-up' innovation," Wickstrand said, noting that in most cases, technologies are geared toward early adopters and heavy users. Only later do they "trickle down" to beginning users, he said.

XP Starter is only available loaded onto a computer for purchase. The Vista Starter version is expected to be released early next year, when all versions of the long-awaited Vista update are supposed to hit the market.

The XP version, which debuted in November 2004 and has reached more than a million families in emerging markets, is offered in 25 languages. When Vista Starter is launched, that will be expanded to 79 languages.

"We wanted to reach deeper into markets that we previously didn't have the ability to touch," Wickstrand said.

Another addition to Vista Starter is the capability to open a limitless number of windows. In the XP version, people are restricted to only three windows at a time. However, both XP Starter and the update will continue to limit the number of programs that can run simultaneously to three.