Microsoft's supremo for China has told state-owned China Daily that Redmond's ready roll out version of Windows 10 with extra security features demanded by China's government.
"We have already developed the first version of the Windows 10 government secure system. It has been tested by three large enterprise customers," Alain Crozier, CEO of Microsoft Greater China told China Daily.
China used Edward Snowden's revelations to question whether western technology products could compromise its security. Policy responses included source code reviews for foreign vendors and requiring Chinese buyers to shop from an approved list of products. Microsoft, IBM and Intel all refused to submit source code for inspection, but Redmond and Big Blue have found other ways to get their code into China.
IBM's route is a partnership with Dalian Wanda to bring its cloud behind the Great Firewall. Microsoft last year revealed its intention to build a version of Windows 10 for Chinese government users in partnership with state-owned company China Electronics Technology Group Corp.
There's no reason to believe Crozier's remarks are incorrect, because Microsoft has a massive incentive to deliver a version of Windows 10 that China's government will accept. To understand why, consider that China's military has over two million active service personnel, the nation's railways employ similar numbers and Microsoft’s partner China Electronics Technology Group Corp has more than 140,000 people on its books.
Not all of those are going to need Windows, but plenty will.
That China's gently backed its own cut of Ubuntu, dubbed Kylin, also makes it plain Microsoft could face competition in the middle kingdom.
Windows-watchers have also found Crozier's words significant, because it's felt Windows Red, as The Register may call this cut, was being developed in parallel to the Windows 10 Creators Update. And if Windows Red is ready, perhaps the Creators Update isn't far behind.
The Register has asked Microsoft to explain the security features of Windows Red, but had not received a reply at the time of writing. You know the drill: we'll update this story if Microsoft sends any information. ®
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