Speaking of emerging markets, it looks like Microsoft has its eye on Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and many other countries. Microsoft are perhaps concerned that business in these countries may be forced, due to low operating costs, to take up Linux instead of Windows. And Microsoft does not like that, as you can imagine.

Therefore, Microsoft has officially announced the Windows XP Start Edition program, a five-country pilot program that will provide low-cost Windows to nations with emerging markets. The "Starter Edition" will be customized to each country beyond the normal language customizations required. There will be other localized customisations, including nationalised wallpaper and other designs.

But there may be cutbacks too, in what is offered. Its not clear whether Direct X will be a part of the Starter Edition and there may be may other crippling changes from the Windows XP we know.

The OEM cost, however, may be as low as US$30.