Microsoft will release a low-price version of Windows in Russia by the end of the year, an effort to wean consumers in that country off pirated software and Linux.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant will also announce later in the week that it will bring a version of Windows XP Starter Edition, a relatively inexpensive and slimmed down version of Windows, to a fourth, as-yet-unidentified, Asian country, bringing the total number of countries in the program to five.
Windows XP Starter Edition is Microsoft's attempt to gain more customers in the developing nations, the fastest growing markets in the world. The OS differs from regular Windows in a number of respects. Users can run only three programs on the operating system at once, for instance, and home networking has been deleted.
It also comes preloaded only on authorized PCs. Microsoft does not sell the software separately in stores.