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Among the companies that agreed to close a deal with the Washington-based company is a military-tech group, chip-maker Tsinghua Unigroup, and China Electronics Technology Group Corp. All companies have strong ties within the government or are state owned companies.
Microsoft made the announcement Wednesday, when its top executives met in Seattle with Chinese President Xi Jinping during an official visit. Finding reliable partners in China is a well-planned move especially for the U.S. company which struggled with cybersecurity issues and unfair competition for many years.
According to reports, President Xi agreed to visit the company’s headquarters in Redmond on Wednesday.
Microsoft announced that its cloud division in China would close a deal with government-backed Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd before selling cloud services to governmental institutions and businesses. The U.S. company will also make sure that Chinese technicians get the proper training and support.
Microsoft also partnered with China Electronics Technology Group Corp. (CETC), another government-owned consortium, to design and set in place a special version of Windows 10 aimed at governmental institutions that need additional protection of their sensitive data.
CETC already runs businesses with the Chinese military making sure that they have the necessary hardware for communications and remote oversea operations. The two companies declined to discuss numbers.
Other American companies also sought the help of politically tied firms to calm spirits at Beijing after former CIA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed in his famous leaks that the White House spied on Chinese officials with help from U.S. tech companies.
Microsoft also faced a series of bureaucratic hurdles in recent years. In 2014, a state agency opened an investigation into the methods Microsoft used to distribute its products and services. During the same year, Beijing banned Windows 8 from state computers.
But on Wednesday, Microsoft also unveiled a deal with web search giant Baidu. According to the agreement, Baidu will feature as default search engine on Microsoft Edge browser.
In return, Microsoft expects more Chinese users that use pirated versions of its operating system would switch to Windows 10. Baidu will assist users that want to make the transition during the update process.
Baidu also announced that it would promote the new operating system directly into its users’ browsers. The company revealed that a giant banner would redirect users who type ‘windows 10’ in their search engine to a MS download site for Windows 10.
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