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Tired of Windows 10 phoning home? Maybe the special Chinese govt version is for you

Redmond woos Beijing mandarins with custom build

Microsoft is now ready to roll with a version of Windows 10 designed specifically for the Chinese government, it has emerged.

Back in December, Microsoft and China Electronics Technology Group Corp (CETC) announced they were setting up a Beijing-based joint partnership called C&M Information Technologies. The new organization will develop a specific build of Windows 10 for Middle Kingdom mandarins.

This version will be "a government-approved Windows 10 image, including Chinese capabilities such as government selected antivirus software," and be made available to "state-owned enterprise customers" including "government and critical infrastructure."

C&M "will provide product activation, patch management, deployment services and product support, as needed, to these government customers." It will also "collect feedback from these government customers on their specific use requirements to inform the creation of the successive updates of the government Windows 10 image, which may be developed by the joint organization."

Presumably this feedback won't include all the data Windows 10 routinely sends back to Redmond; this telemetry will likely be curtailed seeing as it's an enterprise-friendly build.

"Microsoft and CETC have been working on a custom image of Windows 10 for government customers since we announced our initial agreement in September, based on the tools that we make available to organizations around the world," said Yusuf Mehdi, VP of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group.

"If this Windows 10 image is approved for use within the government, it will become available for government purchase and the joint organization will begin its role selling and supporting the government in its use of Windows 10."

Microsoft is keen to get the Chinese government onboard with Windows. Many government offices in the Middle Kingdom use the operating system, some going as far back as XP, plus it's an enormous market, both financially and in cementing Microsoft familiarity with the rulers of the land.

Now the first build of the state-approved OS is ready, Chinese magazine Caixin reports, via Google Translate. Ralph Haupter, CEO of Microsoft's Greater China Region, told journos over the weekend that the first version of the operating system has been completed.

"Our first priority is to ensure that we provide our products with the Chinese government through the depth of cooperation developed out together. This product will be able to use existing applications and develop new applications in the future," he said.

The report states that the Chinese government procurement office is instructing departments to shift straight to Windows 10 and not to install Windows 8 or 8.1 in the meantime.

No one at Microsoft would go on the record to comment further on the translated news report. ®

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