Microsoft has announced today that it will offer a new, low-cost version of Windows XP targetted just for India. 1 Billion people live in the nation, which obviously represents a big market that Microsoft would like to tap into. The "Windows XP Starter Edition" will be designed for the country's national language, Hindi, and will of course be quite a bit cheaper than the Windows XP we know (and love.) Pricing is apparently not yet available, since the software will only be available through desktop manufacturers and the price decided weeks before its launch early next year. If this XP version is a success in the Indian market, it will likely be expanded to cover the other 14 Indian languages.
Really, a fairly good move on Microsoft's part. This is an attempt by Microsoft to protect its market share from the open-source Linux system and software piracy. The take-up of Linux in markets like those in India is very worrying to Microsoft, because of the cheap price afforded by that OS. Therefore, Microsoft wants to offer a similar alternative. There has been a recent boom in computer sales in India, but this benefits Microsoft little because of the widespread problems of software piracy in that country. This move should help to deal with that, and help Microsoft conquer this market.