Microsoft unveiled an agreement with Chinese giant Baidu, as the brouhaha gathered around a visit to the US by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The US firm will make Baidu the default search engine on its new Windows 10 operating system China, replacing its homegrown Bing.
Baidu, the dominant player in Chinese internet search, will offer a new Windows 10 distribution channel, called Baidu Windows 10 Express. The channel is designed to make it easy for Chinese internet users to download “an official Windows 10 experience”, said Microsoft.
And Baidu will offer Universal Windows Applications for search, video, cloud and maps for Windows 10.
Comments by Microsoft SVP Yusuf Mehdi left room for other such local alliances in the future: “We remain deeply committed to delivering Bing around the world and we’re also committed to offering locally relevant experiences – like Baidu in China – to provide great Windows 10 experiences.”
Mehdi also said Microsoft has been working with Xiaomi, among other Chinese firms. The vendor is helping to test Windows 10 on mobile devices with a group of its power users on its Mi 4 smartphones.
The deals were announced as leading figures from Silicon Valley travelled to Microsoft’s campus to hear the Chinese premier speak. Among those who attended were Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook and IBM’s Ginni Rometty, in addition to Microsoft’s Satya Nadella.
US tech firms have complained about being shut out of the Chinese market. Another key concern is privacy. The Chinese premier said the government wanted to address the issues raised.
However, he also wanted the US to lower barriers on civilian IT exports to China and to make it easier for Chinese firms to invest in the States.
In addition to US firms’ frustrations, the relationship has not been straightforward in the opposite direction either, with Huawei in particular feeling rejected by the US government.