Microsoft Corp. has revealed details of a joint venture with state-owned China Electronics Technology Group Corp. (CETC) to streamline the release of a localized version of Windows 10 for China.
The venture, dubbed C&M Information Technologies, will serve “government agencies, as well as state owned enterprises in key infrastructure fields such as energy, telecommunications, and transportation” said Yusuf Mehdi, Head of Marketing at Microsoft in a public blog post.
Microsoft has forged several partnerships in China this year as U.S. tech firms are coming under increased pressure to localize elements of their technology. In September the company revealed a number of partnerships with state-owned and private companies including CETC and Chinese search giant Baidu.
According to Microsoft the version of Windows licensed under the joint venture will be able to gather feedback from users, run independent customer service, and feature Chinese government capabilities, including a locally selected antivirus.
China has been working to develop localized software for many of its core state-owned assets. In late 2014 they released guidelines for banks to migrate from foreign to local technology by 2020. The regulations were suspended in April. China has been working on several state-linked open source operating systems to potentially replace foreign operating systems.
Other U.S. companies have also made concessions in China to boost their market share and improve government relations. In October IBM revealed they would allow officials from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to review some of their source code in a controlled environment.
Cisco joined forces with Chinese computer company Inspur Group to boost their local presence. Dell announced $125 million USD in local R&D in September while Intel revealed they had invested $67 million in eight companies during the same month.
Microsoft says the latest joint venture is still subject to regulatory approval. They also noted that they will maintain core ownership of the Windows 10 technology, and will seek to maintain privacy standards while “recognizing that public sector solutions may differ from technology offered to private sector enterprises,” said Mr. Mehdi.