updated 4/12/2005 9:18:14 PM ET 2005-04-13T01:18:14

Microsoft Corp. plans to release a low-cost, scaled-back version of its Windows operating system in Brazil, the latest in the software company's efforts to compete with open-source competitors and combat piracy.

(MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

Microsoft confirmed in a statement Tuesday that it will announce plans for Windows XP Starter Edition in Brazil on Wednesday. But it said the government had not yet decided whether to include the version of Windows in a government program aimed at getting low-cost computers to novice users.

The company also would not provide other details, such as cost and availability, ahead of an official announcement planned for Wednesday in Brazil.

Microsoft already has pilot programs to offer Starter Edition in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia and India.

The XP Starter Edition lets users run just three programs concurrently and has lower resolution graphics. Designed for first-time users, it also lacks capabilities for home networking and multiple user accounts.

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