Windows XP Starter Edition Milestone: Helping Millions Cross the Digital Divide

Posted by bink on October 10 2006, 3:09 AM. Posted in Windows Starter Edition.

More than 1 million families worldwide are now experiencing Windows-based PCs through Microsoft’s operating system for beginner PC users in emerging markets.

Since the idea for Microsoft Windows XP Starter Edition was first hatched in June 2003, the Microsoft team responsible for it has visited families in emerging markets around the globe, met with prime ministers and information technology government officials, forged new connections with local and international PC manufacturers and overcome linguistic challenges. Along the way, the team has helped bring computer literacy to more than 1 million families who might not have otherwise had been able to purchase or use a PC.

Will Poole, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Market Expansion Group
Will Poole, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Market Expansion Group

Will Poole has been there since the beginning. As senior vice president of Microsoft’s Market Expansion Group, Poole was part of the team that initially responded to the Thailand government’s request for help in delivering computers to underserved populations in the country. That request was the genesis of Windows XP Starter Edition, and since then Poole and his team have been inspired by the response of families around the world learning and growing with their first Windows PCs.

PressPass talked with Poole to get the story of his team’s amazing journey.

PressPass: Why did you create Windows Starter in the first place?

Poole: In mid-2003, the Thai government announced a program to improve access to technology for underserved populations — middle- and low-income families who aspired to own their first PC but hadn’t yet been able to purchase one. Their goal was to put a PC in every one of the homes of these families, and they invited us to partner in this ambitious project. As we worked with the Thai government, we reconnected with Microsoft’s original vision of a PC on every desk and in every home. We felt that these efforts were bringing us back to the very foundation of the company.

As a result of participating in that program, we conducted additional research in other emerging markets, and found that the potential was huge to enhance Windows and other technologies in ways that make them more relevant, accessible and affordable to people whom we haven’t traditionally been able to reach. So that was really the genesis of Windows Starter.

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