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This article was published on March 28, 2016

Microsoft built a special government-approved version of Windows 10 for China

Microsoft built a special government-approved version of Windows 10 for China
Amanda Connolly
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Amanda Connolly

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Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and ed Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and editorial at the Web Summit. She’s interested in all things tech, with a particular fondness for lifestyle and creative tech and the spaces where these intersect. Twitter

Being notoriously strict about censorship, China makes it difficult for companies to launch their products there. It’s a major stumbling block for businesses that want to take a stab at the largest market in the world.

Often, companies will have to bend to suit the requirements of China’s government and that’s exactly what Microsoft has done. Ralph Haupter, Microsoft’s CEO for the Greater China region has revealed that the company’s made a Chinese government-approved version of Windows 10.

Partnering with a state-run technology and defense company, CETC, Microsoft created its specialized version of Windows, officially called Zhuangongban, to comply with governmental standards.

What does that entail? Well, Microsoft isn’t giving away much. All the company has shared is that it doesn’t have all the same consumer apps and services that come with Windows 10 elsewhere and that it’s equipped with additional device management and security controls.

Whether those controls will allow the users to control or at least see the level of surveillance they’re being subjected to or not isn’t confirmed. But it seems more likely, given the partnership and government backing, that the security features will allow the Chinese government to keep a close eye on users.

While it’s good for Microsoft’s business to get its foot in the door and be favored by the government in China for its compliance, it doesn’t say much for the fight for internet freedom around the globe.

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