Microsoft has had something of an interesting relationship with China over the years. The launch of the Xbox One is still yet to happen — although it is on the cards — and the company was investigated for anti-competitive behavior. There were rumors that the Chinese government was planning to outlaw the use of Office having already banned Windows 8 from governmental computers. The latest twist in the tale is that China may have an operating system of its own as early as October.
The Chinese Xinhua news agency says that the operating system could be released within a couple of months. Assuming the OS does see the light of day — and we have no real reason to think that it won’t materialize — Microsoft has the potential to lose a hefty chunk of its user base in China. Although the operating system is destined for desktops and laptops to start with, there are apparently plans to extend it to cover mobile devices as well.
While the desktop version of the OS will act as a direct rival to Windows — and the timing is very interesting considering the expected revelations about Windows 9 in the coming weeks — there are also plans to shift it to mobile devices. This will place an even tighter squeeze on Windows Phone’s delicate market share, as well as offering up additional competition to Google’s Android.
Ni Guangnan, head of China’s operating system development, told the official trade paper the People’s Post and Telecommunications News, “We hope to launch a Chinese-made desktop operating system by October supporting app stores.”
China has long been suspicious of the US, and the development of its own operating system serves a dual purpose. Firstly it will help to quell any security fears that have built up in recent years, but it will also serve to help boost the local economy and feed the job market in software development.