Ed Bott thinks that Microsoft “should sell Windows XP Starter Edition everywhere” in order to help alleviate the problem of Windows 98 & ME going out of support.
I think they should take it one step further and give it away. Include an automated, credit card purchased, upgrade to XP Home edition for a reasonable fee (With an option to have a CD mailed for folks on dialup) . By giving Starter Edition away, you help out the security of the internet, you allow people on limited incomes to use your products, and you give the “free software” people something to chew on. Microsoft has always provided deep discounts to college students, in a “get em hooked” kind of marketing scheme. Giving away Starter Edition would provide the same benefit in the general population, it would offer some insulation against the free software movement, and it would be good PR.