During Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., campus Sept. 23, the company announced several new initiatives aimed at popularizing its technologies in China. Among them is a major change to the default Windows search experience.
"Baidu.com will become the default homepage and search for the Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10 [in China]," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices division, in a Sept. 23 announcement. "Baidu's new Windows 10 distribution channel, Baidu 'Windows 10 Express' will make it easy for Chinese Internet users to download an official Windows 10 experience."
As part of the partnership, "Baidu will deliver Universal Windows Applications for Search, Video, Cloud and Maps for Windows 10," continued Mehdi. "With over 600 million active users, Baidu is one of the most frequently used Internet gateways in China," he observed.
Windows 10 is already off to a strong start in China, Mehdi claimed.
"In China, hundreds of millions of PCs operate Windows today and we're excited to see over 10 million devices already running Windows 10," he said. In late August, Microsoft executives revealed that in the first month of the Windows 10's general availability, 75 million devices were running the new operating system, 1.5 million of which were running the business-friendly Enterprise edition.
"Our focus has been on delivering a great upgrade experience for our customers and through partnerships with Tencent, a leading social networking and gaming service in the world; Qihoo 360, a leading internet security company in China; and Lenovo, one of the world's leading PC manufacturers," said Medhi of the company's efforts to cultivate business alliances in the region. And those efforts continue.
Separately, Microsoft inked a deal with China Electronics Technology Group (CETC) to deliver Windows 10 to "Chinese users in specialized fields in government institutions and critical infrastructure state-owned enterprises," announced the company in a statement. "As part of the cooperation, relevant CETC subsidiary companies will become members of the Microsoft Partner Network and sign a Microsoft Premier Support for Development agreement."
On the cloud computing front, the software giant teamed with Unisplendour and 21Vianet to provide hybrid-cloud services and solutions to Chinese customers. The partnership also entails serving the country's state-owned enterprises. In addition, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi announced that it plans to adopt Microsoft's Azure cloud technology, operated by 21Vianet, for the company's Mi Cloud service.
Microsoft is also in the early stages of negotiations involving projects for a special development zone called the Xi'xian New Area. Discussions are currently centered on startup incubation, cloud computing, big data and smart city initiatives, the company said.
The partnerships are among several Microsoft has forged during Chinese President Xi Jingping's travels to the Seattle area, where he also met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Cisco, meanwhile, announced a $100 million joint venture with Chinese tech vendor Inspur Group.