Bangalore: Software maker Microsoft Corp. on Thursday launched Windows 7 operating system in India, pricing it at least 20% cheaper than in the US to tackle piracy.

Windows 7 can, however, hit stores only after the firm resolves a tax dispute with the customs department over the interpretation of tax rules introduced in July on imported packaged software.

System upgrade: Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan speaks during the launch of Windows 7 in New Delhi on Thursday. Dar Yasin / AP

Microsoft is working with software lobby group National Association of Software and Services Companies to end the dispute, she said.

Windows 7 is designed to be lighter and with more features than the Windows Vista operating system, the company said in a statement.

Microsoft expects the new system, launched globally on Thursday, to revive sales after Vista flopped due to bugs and technical problems.

A basic home version of Windows 7, available only in emerging countries such as India, is priced at Rs5,899, excluding taxes, while the high-end version, named Ultimate, will cost Rs11,799. In the US, the high-end version costs $320 (Rs15,000).

“Some emerging countries have a differential price, basically to tackle piracy," Mehra said.

Microsoft did not reveal the price of Windows 7 bundled with personal computer makers.

India has alarming rates of software piracy pegged at 68%, Rakesh Bakshi, a counsel for Microsoft India, had said in an email interaction in July on intellectual property and piracy.

Nearly 90% of Windows software is sold by bundling it with a laptop or a computer in India. The company said 16 computer makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and HCL Infosystems Ltd will introduce Windows 7 in about 100 laptop and personal computer models within a month.

At least 1,500 Indian firms, including Infosys Technologies Ltd and Wipro Ltd, are changing over to Windows 7, according to Microsoft.

The new software is being priced one-third lower than Vista in India, the company said in a statement.

“We have launched Windows 7 in six editions, targeted at specific user groups," Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan told reporters in New Delhi.

PTI contributed to this story.

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