China is a very tough customers. It has very stringent requirements and limitations, especially for foreign companies intent on selling their wares in the country. Until recently, gaming consoles were prohibited completely. App stores needed to give the government censorship control. Despite those requirements, which sometimes even go against some companies’ character, businesses still fall head over heels over the potentially lucrative market. The latest to give way is Microsoft, who has just revealed a “Specially-provided Edition” of Windows 10 crafted specifically to meet the demands of the Chinese government.
This shouldn’t exactly be news to those watching Chinese relations with foreign tech companies. Microsoft and China’s CETC, a state-run technology and defense company, signed a joint venture to create exactly such a version of Redmond’s latest OS. The real goals of the venture aren’t explicitly stated but you can pretty much read between the lines.
Microsoft isn’t spilling the beans on what makes this special edition different, because it’s not allowed to share those details. All it can share is that this Windows 10 version lacks some of the consumer apps and services that are built into Windows 10. These will most likely be filled in by Chinese counterparts, like how Microsoft replaced Bing with Baidu in China last year.
The special edition was also noted to have more management and security controls. Again, there is little to no details about these features. But considering the Chinese government’s knack for surveillance, one can probably also read between the lines here as well.
Microsoft’s release of a new China-exclusive version of Windows 10 isn’t that surprising but might still ruffle a few feathers. Some consider China to be a bully in this particular aspect. Microsoft, however, has little choice in the matter if it wants to get Windows 10 off the ground in that country. Last 2014, Windows 8 was banned from Chinese government PCs, which probably cost the company a lot. This version of Windows 10 is unambiguously an attempt to regain the Chinese government’s thumbs up, which could, in turn, help shine a positive light on the OS in China.