'XP Lite' Is Not Aite

Microsoft recently announced the release of a new, "budget priced", slimmed down version of Windows XP, geared primarily at the Asian market. Windows XP "Starter Edition", dubbed XP Lite is budget priced, contains several new applications geared towards first-time computer users but also only runs three applications at a time ("to reduce confusion," they say). Analysts at the Gartner Group had this to say about the OS:

  • With XPSE, only three applications can run at any one time. For example, if Yahoo Instant Messenger, Microsoft Instant Messenger and an e-mail client were running, the user couldn't open a Web browser.
  • All XPSE users share a single desktop, rather than separate, personalized desktops, which makes some processes more complicated. For example, users of a shared family PC must log in and out of e-mail and chat applications.
  • Although XPSE ships with XP Service Pack 2 installed, Microsoft has failed to address security issues, such as providing antivirus software and distributing patches and security fixes without reliance on slow, expensive connections, as well as materials educating users on security risks.
Recommendations: Enterprises shouldn't consider this offering. Consumers should steer away from XPSE until it is retooled to grow with the user. With this product, Microsoft could have made a big difference in computer literacy and encouraged wider adoption of PCs among underserved populations. Instead, because of the unnecessary limitations introduced in XPSE, Microsoft will likely be perceived as pushing an upgrade path and frustrating users.

Users will also get 800x600 max resolution, no PC to PC networking and no support for multiple users on a single PC. Sweet!
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