Microsoft to release XP Starter in Arabic

Microsoft is to release an Arabic language version of Windows XP Starter Edition, a key phase in the software giant’s strategic push to make the low-cost operating system available around the world.

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By  Chris Whyatt Published  November 20, 2005

Microsoft is to release an Arabic language version of Windows XP Starter Edition, a key phase in the software giant’s strategic push to make the low-cost operating system available around the world. Microsoft Middle East and Africa (MEA) announced last week, in collaboration with the governments of Egypt and Turkey, that Windows XP Starter Edition in Arabic and Turkish would be available in the first quarter of next year. These represent the latest language additions to the opera- ting system that Microsoft has designed for first-time PC users in developing technology markets, taking the number of markets where local-language versions are available to 32. Microsoft said the move reaffirms a long-standing commitment to enabling individuals, communities and countries to gain access to the technology tools, skills and innovation they need to realise their potential. “Microsoft is a strategic part-ner to the Egyptian Governme- nt in its quest to provide access to technology for the people of Egypt,” said Dr Tarek Kamel, Egypt’s minister of communications and IT. “Building on our joint success in the National PC Initiative ‘PC for Every Home’ that has delivered a quarter of a million PCs to Egyptian homes, we anticipate the new Windows XP Starter Edition that has been localised in Arabic will provide wider and more affordable technology access to the masses.” In July Microsoft said it had sold 100,000 copies of Windows XP Starter Edition, which is a basic, cheaper version of Windows sold in conjunction with a new PC. Microsoft initiated the programme in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in October 2004, and has since expanded sales to India, Brazil, Mexico and Spanish-speaking Latin America. The Windows XP Starter Edition programme is part of a broader scheme aimed at delivering lower cost systems in local languages with features that allow users to operate a PC with little or no training. Its Local Language Program (LLP) enables Windows and Office to be localised by creating technology “skins”, known as Local Interface Packs (LIPs), that overlay Windows and Office code, making the platform and applications available in local language. And the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher (MAR) programme, launched in 2001, is expected to donate more than one million licenses by 2010, according to the firm.

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