Microsoft Signs Search Pact With Baidu in China

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Microsoft and Baidu partner to deliver a ‘local’ Windows 10 experience in China.

Microsoft unveiled a slate of agreements with Chinese businesses and government agencies on Wednesday, including a deal that will make China’s largest search engine the default home page for Microsoft’s new Edge browser in the country.Most people in China will be using Baidu rather than Microsoft’s Bing as the search engine within Microsoft’s Edge browser, thanks to a new distribution deal that Microsoft has announced. “Baidu Windows 10 Express” is a new way to get Windows, through a deal signed between Microsoft and Baidu, China’s dominant and homegrown search engine.Microsoft is partnering with Chinese search giant Baidu in its latest attempt to make upgrading to genuine versions of Windows 10 as simple as possible in a country where software piracy has historically run rampant. Baidu will be both the home page and default search engine for Microsoft Edge, the browser the Redmond company introduced with its new Windows 10 operating system.

While, Microsoft’s Windows OS has a significant desktop presence there, the awkward level of nationwide piracy obscures Microsoft ability to monetize its efforts in the area effectively. Through the new partnership, Baidu’s 600 million users will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 through a distribution channel called Windows 10 Express. Added complications include Microsoft’s mobile ambitions in China that are all but extinguish, as Android and iOS have become the platforms of choice, leaving Microsoft with a less than 1% OS presence.

This kind of visibility on China’s most popular search engine is Microsoft’s most recent attempt to boost sales there by making it easier to get legitimate copies of its newest operating system. Microsoft will partner with some Chinese information technology vendors to offer Microsoft’s network of data storage and remote processing power to state-owned companies, and Chinese phone maker Xiaomi will adopt Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing program to power some services for its users. The exception will be for those who have already set their homepage or search provider to something customized or those who upgraded through programs in association with Tencent or Qihoo.

As it stands, with the help of a few established partnerships such as Tencent, Qihoo 360, and Lenovo, Microsoft has seen Windows 10 installed on over 10 million devices in China. Other deals include agreements to work with local governments on technology issues, and an agreement with a technology vendor to explore offering support packages for Windows 10 to government institutions. It’s Microsoft’s newly announced partnership with China-Baidu though that will help Microsoft tap into over 600 million active Baidu Internet users. Those who prefer Bing or another search engine can change the default, though the company has attracted some criticism for making it harder to switch search engines in Windows than in the past.

China represents one of the world’s largest and most important software markets, but it continues to be a struggle for Microsoft as cultural and government differences have made things more difficult. LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER: Don’t miss the GeekWire Summit on Oct. 1 and 2 in Seattle, featuring key execs from companies including Nike, Zillow, Concur, Xbox, Redfin, Uber and more.

Plus, 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, the return of “Inventions We Love,” New York Times reporter David Streitfeld moderating a panel of Amazon veterans, and much more.

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