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Microsoft expands low-cost Windows to Mexico

Windows XP Starter Edition now available on new PCs in the country, with plans to eventually offer the OS throughout Latin America.

Microsoft said Tuesday that it is expanding its Windows XP Starter Edition to include Mexico, with plans to eventually offer the low-cost operating system throughout Latin America.

The software maker said that the Spanish-language Windows XP Starter Edition will be made available on new PCs starting immediately in Mexico and Argentina, with a goal of offering the OS throughout Latin America in the coming months. XP Starter Edition is similar to other flavors of Windows XP, but is offered only as part of new low-end PCs in developing countries. It also has some limitations, such as the ability to run only three programs simultaneously.

What's the difference?

Windows XP Starter Edition is similar to other flavors of the operating system, but has some key changes.

• Starter Edition is sold only with a new PC.

• It is sold only in certain developing countries and only in the local language.

• The software can run only three programs simultaneously.

• Each program can open a maximum of three windows.

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft already offers the operating system in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, however sales there are said to be off to a slow start. In recent months, the company also has launched in Brazil and India. Microsoft plans to offer a Russian version of Starter Edition as soon as the government finalizes its low-cost PC program.

Among the companies partnering with Microsoft in Mexico are Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and Dell as well as Mexican telecom company Telmex and local computer makers Texa, Lanix and Hergo.

Microsoft is also working with Infonavit, a state-owned mortgage agency that helps low- and moderate-income Mexicans purchase homes. Under a new program, home buyers will be able to finance a PC by including its cost on a mortgage.

"It really becomes an incredible opportunity for folks in this income range to get a PC," said Adam Wolf, a product manager in Microsoft's Windows XP Starter Edition.