One million Windows Starter PCs later, Microsoft reflects on successes and lessons from developing nations.

Posted by bink on October 28 2006, 11:34 AM. Posted in Windows Starter Edition.

Microsoft was founded with the idea of putting a PC in every home in America. Having achieved close to 75 percent penetration here and in other developed economies, Microsoft has now turned its eyes to other, less affluent regions. The company has launched a pair of initiatives in recent years that aim to develop a customer base in developing nations, with varying degrees of success. Microsoft recently celebrated the millionth sale of Windows Starter Edition (WSE), a very stripped-down version of Windows at an equally reduced price. Different versions of WSE have been produced for each region in which Microsoft sells the product, which certainly helps account for its success. The other initiative for emerging markets, introduced in the spring , is FlexGo, a pay-as-you-go solution patterned on the prepaid phone card model. Microsoft says uptake of this program is strong, but is not forthcoming with any figures, which leads one to suspect the results aren't as good as expected. But regardless of the success of either program, Microsoft is also learning a great deal about markets that may be worth a lot more in the coming years. And it is even getting immediate dividends in the form of design feedback that it can use today in more developed markets. The Redmond, Wash.-based software vendor launched Microsoft Windows Starter Edition three years ago, with the idea of offering consumers in developing countries less expensive versions of its products that were also tailored to their particular needs. The goal was to extend the "a PC in every home" premise to a global scale. "We needed a new product to make that dream more of a reality in other places around the world," noted Mike Wickstrand, senior director of market expansion for Microsoft. Continue At Source