From this wikipedia article:
Much like Windows XP Starter Edition, [Windows Vista Starter] will be limited to emerging markets such as Brazil, Colombia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, mainly to offer a legal alternative to using unauthorized copies. It will not be available in the United States, Canada, Europe, or Australia. It will have many significant limitations, such as only allowing a user to launch three applications with a user interface at once, not accepting incoming network connections, a physical memory limit of 256 MB, and will run only in 32-bit mode. Additionally, only AMD’s Duron, Sempron and Geode processors, and Intel’s Celeron and Pentium III processors are supported.
This is one of the reasons why I’m glad GNU/Linux is available in versions that are both free as in freedom, and in versions that are free as in beer. It’s sad that Microsoft considers Windows Vista Starter an acceptable way to cater to emerging (read: third world?) markets. No wonder GNU/Linux is seeing much greater levels of acceptance in other countries compared to the U.S.- who would want to pay for an operating system with so many restrictions tacked on top of it?