Microsoft plans to sell a discounted version of its Windows operating system to three Asian nations in a fight for market share with Linux.
The 12-month pilot program to provide personal computers running stripped-down versions of Windows XP to governments in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia will start in October.
Microsoft isn’t selling the software separately from the Asian PCs, which it expects to sell for as little as $300.
Low-end PCs in the United States typically start at around $400. Windows XP Home Edition by itself costs about $99 for users upgrading to the product or $199 for first-time installation.
The test program should help Microsoft counter the Linux operating system, which is gaining ground in some countries against Windows.
Microsoft hopes to lock up government contracts before they go to Linux, observers say.