China thumbs its nose at Microsoft — plans its own operating system to rival Windows

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.

  • LoGiX07

    Hahahaha, no one has ever even touched Windows and they’re making a competitive OS. Really ? Better than Windows ? I don’t think so, the governments can shove it up their ass. You call it a rival SMH.

    • StarEy3

      100% Sure is based on Linux, even Mac is better!

  • Zetrosoft

    “plans its own operating system to rival Windows”
    Hahahahahhahhahhhhhahhhhhhhaaaaaaaahahahhahahah !!!!
    LOL !
    ROFL !
    Impossible !

  • dingl_

    Government controlled OS kekekeke I’m sure whomever utilizes said OS will have no back doors no sir ;P
    China can do what it wants tho, its citizens will suffer in the end.
    Hefty chunk of its userbase doesn’t equal hefty chunk of cash. Chinese govt were apparently still on XP.. that’s some loyal customers right there ;) no real loss in the end. not to mention majority of its citizens use pirated copies

  • Sargon

    They are free to create them if they wish… That doesn’t mean people will use it. I’m sure even Ubuntu will have a higher market share than government’s own OS.

    • StarEy3

      Who trusts the government when they can’t even be trusted with using tax money where they should?

  • BreVDD

    Let them try… it will be funny :)

  • Paul Sison

    Windows is untouchable when it comes to desktop computing. Microsoft can’t even beat their own Windows 7 with Windows 8 and now China tries to topple it?! Come on China!! I have one question though, with all these bad treatments of China to Microsoft, does China do the same thing to other American companies? Like Google or Apple?

  • Allen Alda

    Will they pay the licensing fees for all the Microsoft OS patents that they will inevitably violate? This may be a good thing for Microsoft.

  • StarEy3

    The Chinese government is establishing total surveillance over its citizens

    • Christian Gäng

      Thats not that diffrent what the us government is doing right now. I only say scanning the adresses where mail goes through the us post office.

      • StarEy3

        Is different, the Chinese government is making its own Software, so that they can have more control over it, more control = more freedom to do whatever they want, vs the US where Microsoft, Apple and Google are the ones in control of the Operating Systems

      • Zetrosoft

        If they had fear of NSA they could have switched to kylin os . But here the matter is different . It’s the matter of ego.

  • warrior107

    Microsoft won’t loose much as most people there use pirated copy of windows. Also no Linux based OS has stood up to challenge windows ever. Ultimately they will come back to Microsoft for there products.

  • Anant Malik

    China does the same thing to other American companies –
    1. Google.
    2. Apple.
    3. Qualcomm.
    4. Kaspersky.
    5. Symantek.

    Microsoft is sixth on the list.

    • PowerTc1

      I can’t believe they ditched Kaspersky.

  • Anant Malik

    Oh my F God holy shit for a moment I thought I read rival windows :|
    U drunk bro? :|

  • Anant Malik

    Citizens of China born to suffer at the mercy of their own imposed dictato… oh… I mean… elected government.

  • Micky

    “Should other countries take a leaf out of China’s book and create their own homegrown operating systems?”
    you mean another half-assed linux distributions with more funny names?

  • aminiesta

    So what’s about Kylin OS?

    • IB

      It’s being developed from Ubuntu in partnership with Canonical, Ltd.

      It appears the version number follows Ubuntu, so the current release is 14.04. Search “distrowatch kylin” for info. A public version can be downloaded and run from a DVD or thumb drive, or it can be installed to hard drive.

      I do not know if there is a Chinese government-specific version being developed in parallel, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was.

  • IB

    Well, the US government started moving away from Windows quite a while before the Chinese government did. It’s nothing new.

    The most well-known example is probably the security-oriented Linux OS developed by the NSA, SELinux. The US Department of Defense also created a Linux OS, one called Lightweight Portable Security.

    And then there’s this: “In late 2011, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA, a Dept. of Defence agency tasked with military combat support) issued a public release outlining its intent to shift its IT infrastructure away from a heavy reliance on commercial proprietary software to no-cost/low-cost open source applications and software solutions.”

    “Citing the ‘overwhelming burden’ of rising IT costs and shrinking budgets, coupled with a need for greater technological agility, NGA management was resolute in the shift in its approach: ‘It is clear today to the senior leadership that significant comprehensive change is urgently required.'”

    “For NGA the shift towards open source technology creates several advantages: ‘…we can reduce our total cost to own and operate (our) vast technology infrastructure … we will be able to respond more quickly, more effectively, and with greater agility to leverage and exploit mission successes… We will be able to take ownership of our software applications, tailor and customize them in response to unique operational needs.’ Finally: ‘…we will accelerate the pace of innovation, while reducing our dependence on commercial vendors and external system integrators and the risks associate with commercial software licenses.'”

    I imagine that China’s rationale for moving to Linux and open-source would be pretty much the same as that of the NGA…

    And here’s a 2007 quote from a brigidier general in the US Army’s office of Command, Communication, and Control Tactical: “When we rolled into Baghdad, we did it using open source. It may come as a surprise to many of you, but the U.S. Army is the single largest install base for Red Hat Linux. I’m their largest customer.”

  • James Bell

    What happened to Ubuntu Kylin? I thought this was old news. Or is this a NEW Chinese-made OS?

    On a side note, I’d rather have Microsoft potentially spying on me than China.

    • IB

      I believe that the OS is in fact Ubuntu Kylin. This from CNet: “Last March, in fact, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux would be the official state-endorsed operating system . Now it has a mobile platform all its own to compete with Android and iOS.”

      Canonical has been readying an OS compatible across tablets, phones, and desktops for a couple of years. The Canonical website advertises a one-interface model for running native Linux applications along with HTML5/XML/Javascript web apps. I don’t know if, or how many, manufacturers are investigating the OEM. It’s advertised to be usable on screens as small as 7 inches.

      My guess is that Ubuntu Kylin is a Chinese version of Ubuntu’s version of one-OS-all-devices.

      • James Bell

        If anyone can do it, it’s China. Canonical is extremely good at promising the world and delivering a half-assed end product. I’ve tried so hard to switch to Ubuntu, but it just plain doesn’t beat Windows. It would be kind of cool for an entire government to throw their weight behind desktop Linux. It might gain an edge. Not that it would be a good thing; China has a pretty scary agenda.

        Did you know Ubuntu Touch has been stable for many months now? It’s a final product. It’s pretty sad how much OEM’s have ignored it.

        • IB

          Yeah, I read that Touch is stable and released officially for some Nexus tablets. User-tweaked firmware (?) seems to be available to run Touch on a bunch of other devices.

          I use Ubuntu and a few other distros on laptops and desktops at home, but I haven’t messed with Touch.

          Perceptions about OS, desktop GUI, and application selection is a fairly complex and personal phenom, I believe. It involves mindset — pressure to have something just work versus a feeling of playfulness and willingness to explore, for instance — and it also involves workflow, aesthetics, frustration threshold, use of visual metaphors… a whole host of factors. Very individual. Windows tends to raise my cuss-word output, but then I’m using it solely at work, where time is short and pressure high. Not fair to compare it to my home systems, where I feel easy and a bit playful.

          So it goes. I’ll pick up a Nexus one of these days and try Touch, though — uh, like I need another damned digital distraction device… ;)

  • Guest

    Test comment.

    • Mark Wilson

      No… not working ;)

      • AlexKven

        Excuse all my test comments, I am working on the WinBeta app, and I need to test somehow. When I delete these comments (on the website), it doesn’t really delete them, it just turns them into guest comments (that is Disqus’ fault). So you’ll see a few of these around.

  • Jeffery Leo

    China can do anything, there’re so many genius in China. However, I do not trust the China Developer. That’s all.

  • Eko Alpha

    Go China. You have enough people to buy your own os anyway. Just don’t make your own digital map because I’m sure it will deem all islands on earth chinese just like the scarborough shoal.