Windows Lite is here, kind of…

Microsoft’s cut-price, feature-shredded version of Windows XP has finally arrived in the Middle East. What a shame it’s not available off the shelf then…

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By  Matthew Wade Published  February 22, 2006

|~||~||~|Okay, yes, it’s wishful thinking really, but not only would that help out users who can’t afford to splash out all kinds of dollars on the full version (many features and functions of which they might never use), but it would also help PC first timers get to grips with the OS in months rather than years. As it stands, XP Starter Edition is just here in the region in part, in a couple of countries… It has now been launched in Egypt and in Turkey, however it is being tied to (in other words, preinstalled on) PCs sold through government initiatives. Kind of takes away the cost saving doesn’t it, if you have to buy a PC with it? From a business viewpoint, you can see how and why Microsoft is approaching selling into the region (focusing on big deals involving hundreds and thousands of licenses being sold to governments and corporate enterprises); these clients have cash to spend and they don’t have many other OS alternatives (in that they’d struggle to grab that many pirate copies of Windows all at once, even if they wanted to). But as far as the end user goes – and yes this could turn into a rant Mr. Gates – you’d be forgiven for thinking that Microsoft couldn’t give a hoot. My suspicion is that because piracy is fairly rampant in these parts (and here in the UAE that’s much less the case than in some other parts of the Middle East), Microsoft just can’t be doing with us lot. We don't have the Media Center OS, we don't have a regionalised version of MS Money, we don't have... (I could go on, and on). Working on the ‘Spam Savers’ article that appeared in our March issue of Windows for instance, I found the pirate-fighting Business Software Alliance (effectively - in part - an organisation paid for by Microsoft) to be unwilling or unable to advise our readers on basic software licensing issues. As for approaching Microsoft direct via its own press folk, six weeks of quizzing the firm turned up not one jot of information. And that’s me offering the firm a chance to advise consumers against buying pirate software! Windows Lite? Nice idea, but a strong regional focus it does not represent. On that front, there’s a whole lot more to do. ||**||

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