Things are looking pretty bleak for Microsoft in its new mission to bring cheap Windows to the Asian markets. There has apparently seem a "lukewarm response" to the launch of Windows XP Starter Edition in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The wide spread nature of piracy in these areas of the world may account for something.

Maybe part of the problem is that bootleg copies of Windows XP go for less than $5 in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Many prospective Starter Edition partners sell their kit without any OS installed, while others are continuing to pre-load full editions of XP, clearly believing customers are not hungry for a compromise on features. Still others are finding a market for pre-loaded Linux. The scheme moves to India and then Russia later this year.