Tuesday, April 11, 2006


China supporting or destroying Microsoft?

The German IT-newspage Heise reports(german) that the Chinese government now requires PC-builders to deliver with a properly licensed operating system preinstalled.

This sounds like very good news for Microsoft since the PCs in China are usually without Windows but it is possible to get a pirated version of every Microsoft-product on a street corner for only a few dollars. A better grip on the huge and quickly growing Chinese market would help to boost revenues and also make investors forget the trouble about VISTA.

But the Chinese government may have its own agenda. They are pushing the development of their domestic Linux distribution Red Flag Linux for some years it is now as ready for desktop and well localized. It is therefore the logically choice for the preinstalled OS on every Chinese PC.
Microsoft could not only lose now a huge amount of income, their marketshare is now also highly endangered if Chinese people stop pirating Windows or Office and just use the preinstalled software.

This may be the historic chance the Linux community has waited for years because the grow in the desktop segment has been hampered by the lack of preconfigured systems. Even a slightly higher marketshare in China would mean millions of new users but being the default OS in a rapidly growing economy of 1.3 billion people is the final breakthrough. That would not only affect China but force third-party softwareproducers and hardware vendors all over the world to take Linux seriously.

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