in­fused with Chi­nese in­trigue

The National - News - Business - - The Life -

Dina Bass re­veals how Mi­crosoft adapted Win­dows 10 for the Chi­nese author­i­ties:

qTell me about the new ver­sion of Win­dows 10 for China.

aIt’s ac­tu­ally for the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment in­clud­ing the Chi­nese cus­toms agency and the city gov­ern­ment of Shang­hai. This ver­sion of Win­dows 10 lets the gov­ern­ment use its own en­cryp­tion on its com­put­ers. The gov­ern­ment can also re­move fea­tures it doesn’t want like the OneDrive file-shar­ing ser­vice. The soft­ware is avail­able only for gov­ern­ment use and won’t be sold to any other Chi­nese cus­tomers, Mi­crosoft says.

Why did Mi­crosoft need to do this?

Op­er­at­ing in China has been some­thing of a mine­field for US tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies. Some are blocked, Mi­crosoft is fac­ing an an­ti­monopoly in­ves­ti­ga­tion and in Jan­uary a law took ef­fect that re­quires tele­coms and in­ter­net com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in China to pro­vide law en­force­ment with tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing de­cryp­tion of sen­si­tive user data, in any in­ves­ti­ga­tion meant “to avert and in­ves­ti­gate ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties”.

So does this cus­tomer ver­sion of Win­dows fully com­ply with the com­pany’s val­ues?

Yes. The prod­uct is the re­sult of two years of work by the com­pany and the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to re­solve an im­passe in which the gov­ern­ment, cit­ing se­cu­rity con­cerns, has re­fused to use ei­ther Win­dows 8 or Win­dows 10, block­ing a key source of Chi­nese rev­enue for Mi­crosoft.

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