updated 9/22/2005 9:19:25 PM ET 2005-09-23T01:19:25

Microsoft Corp. plans to offer an English-language version of its scaled-back, lower-priced Windows XP Starter Edition in India, as part of efforts to encourage technology adoption in developing countries and prevent pirating.

Microsoft already offers the lower-cost operating system in India and other countries, targeting first-time users who don't speak English. Thursday's announcement marks the first time Starter Edition will be available in English. (MSNBC is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture.)

The local language releases in India and other countries are aimed at encouraging local adoption of Microsoft technology without hampering sales in markets such as the United States where only the full-priced Windows is available.

But the Redmond-based software maker noted Thursday that many Indian users speak English. It said that the product would only be available through computer makers, and will only be licensed for distribution in India.

The version of Starter Edition, which will include English and other native Indian languages, will be available early next year. The company would not say how much the program would cost. The complete Windows product sells for about $85 in India.

Starter Edition can run only three programs simultaneously, lacks capabilities for home networking and multiple users and has lower-resolution graphics than more expensive versions. In addition to India, it is currently available in 18 Latin American countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

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