Microsoft is ready to start selling a custom version of Windows 10 that it developed for the Chinese market, according to reports on March 21.
Almost a year ago, Microsoft officials said they were developing a Chinese government-approved version of Windows 10 in partnership with Chinese technology and defense company China Electronics Technology Group Corp (CETC).
At that time, Microsoft officials said little about what would differentiate that version of Windows, known as Zhuangongban, from other Windows 10 editions. Officials only said that the Chinese version would remove some consumer applications and features to make Windows 10 more manageable and secure.
Microsoft officials still aren't saying much about what they did to customize the Chinese government-approved Windows 10 release. According to China Daily, the release has been tested by "three large enterprise customers" and is more secure and controllable.
Update: A point of clarification -- the version that's just finished being finalized is specifically aimed at government and enterprise users with mission-critical needs. Windows 10 is already available to consumers and non-government businesses.
Before Microsoft established its joint venture with CETC, the Chinese had shut down the government procurement market to Windows in the name of information security.
The Chinese government banned Windows 8 use on government computers in May 2014 and then raided the company's offices a few months later in an antitrust investigation. Microsoft is hoping the new version of Windows 10 will give the company a way to reenter profitably the Chinese market.
Microsoft shut down its MSN China portal in May 2016, following a deal the previous year with Baidu, via which Baidu.com became the default home page and search engine for Windows 10's Edge browser for Chinese customers.
An interesting aside: According to China Daily, Microsoft currently has more than 70,000 corporate customers for its Azure cloud services in China, up from 65,000 a year ago. Microsoft has a partnership with 21Vianet in China that allows it to offer Azure and Office 365 services there.
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