Home > Windows > Microsoft To Blanket Latin America With Stripped-Down Windows Microsoft To Blanket Latin America With Stripped-Down Windows Thom Holwerda 2005-06-29 Windows 39 Comments Microsoft Corp. is taking a new tact with its Windows XP Starter Edition campaign. On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled in Mexico City the newest member of its Starter Edition family: Windows XP Starter Edition in Spanish. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 39 Comments 2005-06-29 3:03 pm This is going to go down like a lead balloon. No one with any measure of dignity is going to pay 30 bucks to be condescended with such crap. 2005-06-29 3:12 pm Glad to hear. Me, not latin american, still, never in my life have I loved MS software so much to willingly give money for a crippled version just to own one. Geez. In my life it only happened once that I really felt I should buy a Windows version for my main home desktop. Then I just woke up, realized my stupidity, turned my full attention to my Debian box and I don’t use anything else at home ever since. Never in my life will I ever pay for software if I can manage with FOSS sw. I’d rather donate to FOSS than paying for patent moguls’ welfare. 2005-06-29 3:21 pm First, have any of the previous posters been to Latin America? Anyways, I do not what is the point, nobody in Latin America buys software. Microsoft knows that. If piracy is a big issue in US, in LA it is a way of life. 2005-06-29 3:37 pm yeah, I agree – if you’ve been to latin america you’d see that you can buy a ‘legit’ version of winblows xxx for about 10 pesos, bundled with office xxx for 20 pesos (about a couple bucks). Last time I was in mex city was funny to see that they were also selling ‘pirated’ versions of linux – street peddler had debian, mandrake, redhat, etc… MS is just afraid of losing entire latin american market if they latch on to linux. Seemed like most folks in the internet cafes everywhere used instant messaging, email, web browsers – would make complete sense to ditch dozer. 2005-06-29 3:44 pm I just don’t get the point of this. Why would Microsoft do something so stupid. I am for central america and don’t see the point, I mean no one would buy that crap. Probably they are beginning to notice that some in Latin America are joining the open source movement and they are trying to react to that. 2005-06-29 4:04 pm and childish comments. If one wants a full blown version of Windows, buy it. If one can use the less expensive version without issue, buy it and save money. And be legal instead of a thief. The story title says it all “stripped down” instead of “Microsoft To Blanket Latin America With Inexpensive Windows” Troll title brings out the trolls. Go figure. 2005-06-29 4:09 pm i live in the USA and i can afford a fully featured copy of WinXP but i still rather use Linux… 2005-06-29 5:03 pm Hey I have lived in latin america and all that I am trying to say is that most people that would use this version of windows only need office and simple stuff maybe you don’t know but most don’t have the money to buy a XP box and $30 dollars is alot to some specially if you get limited acces to certain things. You are better off buying a nicer computer and getting linux. 2005-06-29 5:07 pm No one with any measure of dignity is going to pay 30 bucks to be condescended with such crap. Why not? People have put up with “My Computer” for about a decade, why not a cheaper jr. version of Windows? (That said, there’s a reason why the PC Jr. didn’t sell well.) 2005-06-29 5:58 pm “You are better off buying a nicer computer and getting linux.” I would not be so bold to claim what is “better” for several hundred million people. Linux may well be better for some, likewise some may prefer optimal Windows compatibility. 2005-06-29 6:38 pm Oh you mean like ms thinking they know what is better for latin america? 2005-06-29 6:43 pm Let’s look at this from the typical buyer’s perspective… Crippled verision of Windows XP: $30 Full version of XP Pro: $2.50-ish You decide. 2005-06-29 6:46 pm In Latin America, there are no incentives to be “legal”. The “thief” would be the richest man in the world asking you to spend a week of income on a crippled OS, when you can go to the corner and pay a buck for a dubious version of Windows XP or a copy of Ubuntu, Fedora or whatever. It would make more sense to just sell Win XP for 30 bucks, then it starts looking like a fair deal. But many clueless journalists think that crippling the OS is a way of making the OS “cheaper”, where it is actually more costly, because someone has to go into the code to remove features from an OS that’s already written. The whole point of making it crippled is to prevent Americans or Europeans from buying XP in Mexico for 30 bucks and taking it back home, thus cutting into MS’s sweet 80% profit margins. This has the side effect of being completely insulting, like telling Latin Americans that they aren’t good enough to have resolutions greater than 800×600 or more than 3 apps running at the same time. The funny bit is that MS thinks it’s doing the world a big favor by doing this. 2005-06-29 6:54 pm To me this seems really insulting and condescending. It’s almost like saying “you’re not good enough for the full software, play with this toy instead”. 2005-06-29 6:55 pm This really isn’t that bad for a product thats only 30 bucks. For you linux fans here’s a reality check for you, money rules the world. That’s a fact we all have to live with, I live in Miami which is the gateway of Central and South American MAJOR business with the U.S.. As longs as windows is the OS most U.S. business use for their documents it will have a trickle down effect in South America and MS knows they have this to their advantage. I Still have family in South America and they have no idea about linux and their from Peru which is where the Goverment wants to just use open source. I’m no MS fan which is why I use OSX, but I’m a realist and linux has a long hard road if it wants to seriously be considered as an alternate OS. 2005-06-29 6:58 pm I’m from Uruguay, a little country between Argentina and Brazil. Nobody will buy such a strip down window with a maximum resolution of 800×600, especially when in here is much easier to buy pirate software than legal one, not to mention that much cheaper too; a CD cost about 2 US dollars. Here just are not stores with a wild variety of software, say if you want to buy computer games, then you have to buy illegal copies. And about using Linux, here is easier to find a pirate copy of Windows than some CDs of Linux. Although some stores are starting to sell computers with pre installed Linux, but things seem to be evolving very slowly. Some control about pirate software exists, and sometimes piracy stores are closed, but the most control is over the enterprises. Microsoft and other companies have a some sort of lawyers company that check that enterprises to have their software legal. I don’t know how legal is what Microsoft does, I mean if you own a enterprise you don’t want other people to be checking out your computers. Maybe this strip down Window will be sell as OEM, but the limitation of 800×600 seems to big to me, even for using the internet. I wonder whether security holes and IE will ever be striped. 2005-06-29 7:09 pm “Oh you mean like ms thinking they know what is better for latin america?” I don’t imagine anyone at MS thinks they know what is best for a continent of people. They do what is best for their corporation and all those that rely on it. Giving the consumer in Latin America another option in no way harms them: they still get to choose to buy what works best for them. The bottom line is the consumer is being offered another option. The market will decide if it is a good move or not. MS offers a cheaper version of Windows with fewer capabilities, if consumers want it and it fits their budget, they buy it. If they need the power of the full version, and they can afford it, they buy it. What part of that is so hard to understand? Do you want some Central Committee to handle your life for you? If so, move to North Korea where the government handles the sale of radios and tvs and limits them to only receive signals on the governments channels. If they are into stealing other peoples property, they get to live with themselves knowing they are a dishonest thief. I am not insulted by GM selling me a car for $15k and thats all I can afford, when they have models with more bells and whistles that cost $50k. Every time one of these articles comes up, I just have to laugh at the asinine and juvenile reactions. Damn Adobe for offering Elements versions of their pro apps. Damn Apple for selling Express versions. Damn Novell for having different versions of Suse. Damn Redhat….well, hell, lets damn every company that sells pro versions and consumer versions of their software. I hear a high pitched whine and it is really grating. 2005-06-29 7:17 pm Preach on brother man ChanMan! Finally a grown up who understands how the world works. 2005-06-29 7:40 pm “If they are into stealing other peoples property, they get to live with themselves knowing they are a dishonest thief. ” Aren’t you the melodramatic one. I’m sure they lose sleep at night at the thought of taking a $100 out of Bill Gates pocket each time they sell a bootleg copy of Windows. Or more likely they think he ought to come down to Mexico City and see how the other half lives. 2005-06-29 8:23 pm @Void “I’m sure they lose sleep at night at the thought of taking a $100 out of Bill Gates pocket each time they sell a bootleg copy of Windows.” If this isn’t melodrama then I’d have to say you’re an idiot. Do you honestly believe you’re only taking money from Bill? That the outsourcing of IT jobs by major software developers for not just support but research and design has nothing to do at all with lost revenue from piracy? I’d like to see you lose your job in a corporate outsourcing move and bring you’re broke-ass down to Mexico City and encourage them. @ AR “I’m from Uruguay, a little country between Argentina and Brazil. Nobody will buy such a strip down window with a maximum resolution of 800×600, especially when in here is much easier to buy pirate software than legal one, not to mention that much cheaper too; a CD cost about 2 US dollars.” I guess this is the “dignity” of Latin America that the first poster was talking about? I realize it might be hard to understand but there are places in the world where people value “doing the right thing”. Thats where the business model being employed by Microsoft for this light version of windows comes in. The idea is not to make a version of Windows that is cheap and feature complete to sell against the lovely pirated copies being sold by these “dignified” pillars of Latin American morality. Rather its to give a mid to low level product at a more affordable price. ChanMan gave a great analogy using GM and car models for how a tiered product line helps provide customers with more options. Then again I doubt this move by Microsoft will have any effect; kind of like trying to take the trailer-park out of a girl… 2005-06-29 8:34 pm The difference between say, Adobe Elements and MS Windows Starter Edition is that Elements is geared towards beginners and home users while Windows SE is directed towards specific regions of the world. Not so with Adobe or Apple. Imagine GM telling you “We have some Cadillacs we could sell you, but since you’re Latin American, we know all you can afford is a used Geo. After all, why would you want more than 90hp?” There’s one crucial difference, in this case the Geo and the Cadillac both have a marginal cost of near zero, so GM would have no problem selling you the Cadillac for the price of the Geo. The differences in prices and features would be a completely artificial ploy to collect more money from those willing to pay more. Which is fine, and accepted market practice, except that the distincions are being drawn along lines of nationality and race in a rather condescending way. The reality of the market is that I can go to a street corner in Costa Rica or Mexico and buy XP Pro for 2 bucks and no one gives a flying crap and no one feels sorry for Bill Gates. That’s about what people are willing to pay for a full featured OS. And if the governments of the region ever started raiding people’s houses to fish out pirated copies of Windows XP (like that’s ever going to happen) people are more likely to find something else rather than part with their hard earned cash. If anti-piracy laws were enforced, no one would use Windows in Latin America. I think even MS realizes that. 2005-06-29 9:04 pm I’m a brazilian, and, i can affirm with sure this thing are not selling at all here. For what any sane people will buy a striped down winxp for a absurd price if he can buy a pirated version of full home edition for R$10 (with office 2003 included) in any street or even get one for free with some friend?! Most local pc stores, or send with a OEM full winxp, or sell with linux when price is a problem…talking with a vendor here, he make a interesting question: how to explain for a user that he bought a pc who can use high resolution (any cheap mainboard with a on-board video can do 1280×1024 today, and 17″ CRT monitor is very low priced too), with full multimedia features, and is your “winxp starter edition” who do not let him use all power of your pc?? Simple, they can’t, he will always choice between a full pirated version or linux. 2005-06-29 9:38 pm Hope you don’t mind my comment… “Tact” relates to courtesy and diplomacy. “Tack” relates to a change of direction. It’s a sailing term. Congrats on the appointment Thom. Good luck! 2005-06-29 9:43 pm There seem to be a few US posters here who seem to believe that “copyright” is something universally and uniformly accepted. Thus, if you break copyright law, you’re a thief. The hard truth is that the idea of copyright is not universally accepted. See here : http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/06/issue/feature_people… Breaking copyright law is just that — breaking a law. Is breaking a law always morally wrong ? Think about the fact that in many countries, there are laws against free speech, against the equality between women and men, against many other good things. Is breaking them morally wrong ? No. Then why is breaking copyright law so wrong ? 2005-06-29 10:06 pm Thats like blanketing Latin America with no-spill-mugs. Atleast blanket them with something good. 2005-06-29 10:10 pm “Is breaking a law always morally wrong ?” About as often as people consider their morals to be only a matter of convenience… Copyright laws are easy to break and good for my wallet so it must “aright” to break them because its convenient; is this what you’re getting at? Downloading original content online for free without consent from the original creator is morally fine because I don’t feel any effects of it hurtin another individual in close proximity to me; and its easy – I can do it from my own home; again is this what you are getting at? As a matter of personal preference I don’t like the idea of copyright because it interferes with me doing what want to do (changing or consuming content created by others) so its morally accepted for me ignore copyright laws as an individual; is this you’re idea? 2005-06-29 10:32 pm Do you honestly believe you’re only taking money from Bill? That the outsourcing of IT jobs by major software developers for not just support but research and design has nothing to do at all with lost revenue from piracy? You’re pretty gullible if you think corporations aren’t going to outsource anyway whether there is a piracy problem or not. I realize it might be hard to understand but there are places in the world where people value “doing the right thing”. Thats where the business model being employed by Microsoft for this light version of windows comes in. For Microsoft doing the “right thing” has meant requesting some of the poorest countries in the world to pay extortionate 1st world prices. When Linux started making inroads in Thailand Microsoft dropped the price of its Windows/Office packages from $600 (the equivalent of charging U.S. consumers $3,000 – Thai schoolteachers make only about $300 per month ) to $37 ! Microsoft couldn’t have cared less about the Thais’ financial suffering until threatened with a significant drop in market share – and there is no good reason why anyone in a poorer country should care about sustaining Microsoft’s overflowing bank balance. 2005-06-29 11:15 pm Seems to me that, if you’re really poor, it’s not a decision of pirating, or paying $300 for XP. Rather, it’s a decision of pirating, or doing without XP. Nobody is really poor country is going to pay $300, or even $100, for XP anyway. So – in a way – it’s not really costing msft anything when they pirate. In fact, it helps msft because that way msft can keep their monopoly, and keep controlling the standard. Maybe that is cause to be morally outraged, but it’s a reality that may as well face up to. Maybe by making low cost windows available, all msft wants to do is silence critics who say that msft is essentially forcing the third world to pirate. JMHO. 2005-06-30 1:54 am I have always considered microsoft smart as far as business goes but if this article is on the up and up I will have to change my opinion. Nobody….. is going to buy an operating system that limits screen resolution to 800 X 600. Until I read the article I thought microsoft might be going after small business but at 800 X 600 it is no good to most businesses and the home user can get the real thing almost for free on the black market. I’m a linux fan because it is free, secure, and stable. As I type this my computer has been up 2-3 weeks since the last reboot. At work I reboot windows sometime during the day about half the time (after it starts acting up or when it locks up) and I shut it off at night. I am not allowed to download anything at work for fear of viruses. In linux I have downloaded and installed anything that caught my eye for years and have never had a problem. Its free, and now some of these distributions are getting so easy to use…. Signed, Astounded…….. 2005-06-30 3:04 am Quote: “Is breaking a law always morally wrong ?” Sometimes, yes, it is. Copyright laws are out of hand, have been for quite some time now. Public domain has no meaning, as the corporations ensure that they get permanent copyright. Copyright was not only invented to serve the inventor/artist etc, but was made to serve the greater public. As a inventor/artist, you got a period of time to make a profit, after that it returned to the greater public, for greater good. Today we have a scenario where money outweighs the greater good for the public, and so copyrights have increased, by ridiculous amounts. So, in reality, it depends on how you look at it. Copyright serves a purpose, but it has been stretched beyond that purpose and made a mockery of the original intent. I think that’s what the original poster meant. Dave 2005-06-30 3:16 am I am 100% behind Microsoft’s official position on the issue of piracy! I would like for every user to have to decide between paying full price for Microsoft and using Linux for free. I hate piracy because it competes unfairly with Linux. Seriously folks, if people couldn’t use pirated M$ software, M$ would have 40% of the market instead of 90%. You can’t tell me M$ does not love piracy (Hint: the same way a drug dealer might give out free samples to get you hooked). 2005-06-30 3:25 am XP PRO SP2 -=Stripped to the Bone Edition=- http://www.torrentspy.com/directory.asp?mode=torrentdetails&id=3387… 2005-06-30 5:23 am you could go to torrentspy.com and download a stripped version of Xp for free or go to ubunutu’s website and get the whole OS on a CD for free. 2005-06-30 6:03 am i’m a bit disgusted at what microsoft is doing. this won’t work, it just won’t work. people will just have something more to pirate and sell in the streets. 2005-06-30 7:30 am If Linux is so cool, free and does everything why are people still pirating Windows. If people will still prefer to pirate Windows lite now when legal linux is available free you have to wonder how good is linux really. 2005-06-30 7:48 am As if they don’t have enough problems in Mexico already…. 2005-06-30 8:45 am If MS is so pissed off about piracy, why are they not using dongles in combination with strong encryption? Sure, dongles can also get copied, but not with a standard DVD writer. That would effectively reduce the software piracy by 99%. 2005-06-30 10:40 am So what part of my post do you find most offending and worth reporting the abuse? 1. it’s much more off topic than all other posts 2. syntx, grammar 3. communist posting to a public forum … or what? 2005-06-30 3:59 pm “This really isn’t that bad for a product thats only 30 bucks.” That’s $30 US. Keeping in mind that the average person in Latin America brings home $3260 per year (FY2003) versus $37,610 in the US (also FY2003), even a comparatively wealthy person in Latin America should be expected to balk at an equivalent of $1,000 for a stripped down version of Windows. Doubly so when, for less than $1 US you can go down to the market street and buy a cracked full copy. It’s not that people aren’t willing to pay for stuff, but when a foreign monopolist with more cash than Croesus walks in with an offer to you of a rusty hammer in exchange your first born, you’re going to have a hard time seeing it as fair. If someone’s going to get taken in the deal, why not the baron? Chances are MSFT would never notice, if they did, would they care? Even if they cared, do they have enough reach or respect to do anything about it? Probably not.