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Windows XP Lite

It seems so crippled that they would have trouble giving it away for free.  Only 3 programs running at once?  Are we back to the DOS days?

'The new software's "simplified task management" in which "first-time home PC users can have up to three programs running concurrently" represents a downgrade from the standard XP system. A full XP version can run many more programs concurrently, depending on the amount of memory in a computer.

Other downgrades include "display resolution set to 800x600 maximum and no support for PC-to-PC home networking, sharing printers across a network or more advanced features such as the ability to establish multiple user accounts on a single PC," the company said.'

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/biztech/08/11/thailand.xplite.ap/index.html

T. Norman
Thursday, August 12, 2004

It just makes XP lite the loser in the competition against linux, making it easier for foreign countries to see the light.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, August 12, 2004

You mean like: Here is XP lite that runs our own vertical app, word and email vs. Here is linux, that doesn't run our own app, and we need retraining to inferior text processing and mail clients?

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Yeah but they're targeting this at home users. Our own vertical app doesn't come into play.  So it's actually email + web browser + word processor, and that's your lot. And restricting the screen resolution? What the hell for? This so plainly is going to come across as a second class system that even people that haven't heard of Linux will now be looking for alternatives.

I'm pretty neutral on MS usually, I think like any big company they make some good stuff and some bad, and ethically they're not much worse than others either, but this strikes me as a shocker. Who thought this up?

Andrew Cherry
Thursday, August 12, 2004

"You mean like: Here is XP lite that runs our own vertical app, word and email vs. Here is linux, that doesn't run our own app, and we need retraining to inferior text processing and mail clients?"

I'll bet it's more like this:

Here is XP lite that runs our own vertical app, word and email and costs some $$$ vs. Here is XP Pirate Ed., that runs whatever I want, connects to other XPs, and probably costs less $$$.

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Ah, missed that bit, sorry. It is for putting something on a naked PC at sale time. What Paulo said. Whatever it is shipped with, 99,99% will be running XP Pro for 0$ the day after it left the shop anyway.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, August 12, 2004

I don't get it.

Sell fewer copies of a dumbed down product for less money.

Sell more copies of the full thing for less money.

Seriously, if you were Microsoft, which would you choose? Why not sell XP for less money in Asia?

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, August 12, 2004

While the XP Lite concept will seem extraordinarily stupid in developed countries, that's not where it's being targeted.  In the less developed world, PC technology is still light years behind. 

I do logistics for major retailers, and they often want to do complicated tracking and tracing using RFID / Barcode at their 3rd world vendors' plants.  When we find out what hardware they're running, 386 w/ Windows 3.1 is not uncommon.  For them, XP light would be a quantum leap.

I still don't know if the idea will work, but I do see a small nugget of logic behind it.

Brian
Thursday, August 12, 2004

It's just that the first paragraph says they're competing with Linux:

"Although U.S. software giant Microsoft still holds a commanding share of the desktop PC market worldwide, several major computer retailers in Asia in the past year have begun offering hardware with Linux installed."

What next, MS Word that can only do 1 page? A version of Excel that only adds?

And I realize they're not only competing with Linux, they're also competing with themselves in a prirated form. I just don't see the wisdom in selling a dumbed down version of your products.

What would be better is if they gave away the dumbed down version of their product to get people hooked on Windows as early as possible. Or maybe it's priced "So low they're practically giving it away" and the price is just a nod to formality.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, August 12, 2004

In Asian countries, cost of software is not a problem but the cost of hardware is. So, if someone's running Windows 3.1 on 80386, it doesn't mean that they cannot afford Windows XP. It simply means they cannot afford a Pentium-4 machine.

Remember, in countries where software's pirated, it's usually cheaper than the cost of a one-time meal. :-)

Humpty Dumpty
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Looking round Pan-Tip in Bangkok it did strike me that the hardware was cheaper than here but that Windows XP wasn't, therefore forming what could arguably called an unreasonable percentage of the purchase price. Certainly people working in white collar jobs there do have home PCs (yes, Virginia, not everyone in the developing world lives in mud huts with no electricity) and I think Microsoft may be making a smart move here.

It would be wrong to think of all the 'East Asian countries that aren't especially rich' (TM) as homogeneous and I wouldn't want to extrapolate from Thailand, but it also struck me that Pan-Tip was not exactly overflowing with copies of Linux / books about Linux etc. - there were far more books about Windows and Windows software, so rumors of the ascent of Linux are rather exaggerated.

I am HOWEVER somewhat disturbed that Windows XP Lite doesn't appear on MSDN yet. I would like to try our software with it to find out what the limitations really are to see if we need to tweak the software or tell people we don't support the OS.

Depending on what the 'no more than 3 windows per app' really means I think this could be very exciting for people (unlike everyone here, I'm sure) that doesn't properly test return codes.

Harvey Pengwyn
Thursday, August 12, 2004

What they are attempting is price discrimination; varying the product slightly and the price widely to match what the market will bear.

However they have dumbed it down soooo much that it is really a significantly different and inferior product.  By crippling it so much, they have heavily reduced its value to consumers so its lower price doesn't make it attractive.

NoName
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sounds like Windows XP Shite, not Lite.

Who is going to pay for a crappy version of Windows when they can get a pirated copy for less dollars (or ruppees, baht, etc)? Nobody, that's who.

Nemesis
Thursday, August 12, 2004

"While the XP Lite concept will seem extraordinarily stupid in developed countries, that's not where it's being targeted.  In the less developed world, PC technology is still light years behind. "

True, but the people in "Less Developed" countries aren't totally stupid.  They will have no problem deciding between:

Crippled program that costs $xx
Fully functional pirated program that costs $0

CGI-bin Laden
Thursday, August 12, 2004

I think the scenario goes like this.

1.  Microsoft would LOVE to sell full copies of their OS in Asia.

2.  Microsoft doesn't want to give full copies of their OS to vendors in Asia.

3.  Microsoft sells a 'dumbed down' (800x600!  No home networking?  WTF?!?) version of their OS to the Asia manufacturers.  NOBODY is going to want this turkey, but it gives Microsoft an out.  "See, we GAVE you a useable operating system.  Now, QUIT delivering with Linux!"

4.  Microsoft expects users to upgrade IMMEDIATELY by buying a full copy of XP Home -- thereby giving Microsoft a piece of the revenue stream.

True, for this to work, Microsoft MUST do something to prevent whole-sale copying of XP-Home, or XP-Pro -- but I thought they already had that 'phone-home' registration thing going on.

If this IS the scenario, I think it is a devious and self-defeating approach on Microsoft's part.  Consumers will be more disappointed than ever with their new purchases ("You mean I have to pay MORE to get 1280 x 1024!?"), rapant copying of XP-HOME and Pro will be more encouraged, and with all the trouble, Linux looks more and more attractive.

AllanL5
Thursday, August 12, 2004

> You mean like: Here is XP lite that runs our own vertical app, word and email vs. Here is linux, that doesn't run our own app, and we need retraining to inferior text processing and mail clients?

You may have a point that Windows lock in of world class applications won't make it easy for the average low-income family to ignore Windows XP Lite and go for a trail blazer like Linux, however, the point stands that there are plenty of enterprises in such countries that sees some sensibility in what Linux offers. As Joel have pointed out, people resist having to learn completely new ways of using computers (User Interface Design, why Joe PC user hates Mac interfaces), however if their IT department were able to consistently spend USD$600 more on hardware every 5 years because they don't use an Windows OS+Office Suite, that could raise an eyebrow or two. No, again, I am not suggesting that using Linux+Open Office+PostgreSQL+Mono means no need for support cost (see the first statement about lock-in of world class Windows applications, your point exactly, that could throw a monkey ranch into some Linux deployment plans), so $600 might be a little inflated, but I think I got the point across.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Who says they can't be already rolling in $600 of extra hardware to play with because of all the savings they have of running Windows instead of Linux?

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, August 12, 2004

I noticed Dell computer sells Pcs with Linux installed.

MS is just trying to keep Linux from "Distrupting" them at the low end with a cheap replacement that is "good enough".


IF (big IF, I know) Linux managed to get a foothold anywhere (Asia, etc.) then there's be an installed base of Linux. Then it'd be a big motivator for somone to come out with Linux 2: Windows Killer.

It's simple marketing: get a foothold in the market. Build a user base ready for your next  version. Release new version. It's EXACTLY what MS did.

Read: The innovator's Solution for more details.

Mr.Analogy (ISV owner)
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Microsoft can no longer force OEMs to take any Microsoft OS or bundle.  Offering an XP Lite may encourage some vendors to take the build as it takes away one of their build costs, that of configuring the build.  MS delivers them a turnkey image and away they go.

However, OEMs that manufacture in the Far East but supply into Europe and the Americas are affected far more by the demand in the marketplace they supply than just the relatively small cost difference in build.

So if German distributors are demanding that they get SuSe Linux, or whichever, installed on a range of machines, that's what they'll get.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, August 12, 2004

> Who says they can't be already rolling in $600 of extra hardware to play with because of all the savings they have of running Windows instead of Linux?

Good point. Either way, I hope reducing the pricing of Windows will enable a proper relationship (one not based on unpatched pirated OSes and apps) between the rest of the computing world and Microsoft.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, August 12, 2004

"Hi. We're Microsoft. We'll lose money on every XBox sold, but we won't sell Windows for anything less than full price, even though it costs nothing to reproduce."

Of course, Windows is the reason they can lose money on every XBox, so maybe they're not so stupid after all.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Let's not forget than in many parts of the world, the main competition to MS comes from pirated copies of XP that can be got for under $50 - or so I am told :)

Les C
Friday, August 13, 2004

---"Remember, in countries where software's pirated, it's usually cheaper than the cost of a one-time meal. :-) "

Err, no. In Colombo you get a standard "lunch packet" for 50 cents but you have to pay $2 for a pirated copy of Windows XP and you don't get a receipt like you used to.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, August 15, 2004

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