China software makers partner on new OS brand

The developers of two operating systems used in China are teaming up to build a domestic OS brand that could challenge Microsoft Corp.’s dominant Windows platform.

China Standard Software and the National University of Defense Technology have signed a strategic partnership to launch an operating system brand known as “NeoKylin” that will be used for national defense and all sectors of the country’s economy.

China Standard said the agreement was meant to pave the way for a stronger domestic operating system environment for China, according to a company spokesman. No information was offered on a timetable for any product launches under the new brand. 

China Standard is the maker of the NeoShine Linux desktop series, which includes operating systems built to run on government, business and personal computers. The National University of Defense Technology, on the other hand, developed the KylinOS as a secure alternative to foreign software such as the Windows operating system. 

These domestic operating systems have seen greater use among Chinese government computers. But Microsoft Windows still remains the dominant OS used across the country. 

The operating system industry in China, however, has been plagued with piracy. In the case of Microsoft Windows, about one half of the operating system’s user base in China has come from illegal copies, said Matthew Cheung, an analyst with technology research firm Gartner. Many other operating systems in the country have suffered the same setbacks or simply given out their software for free, he added. 

Still, the Chinese government favors buying domestic operating systems, out of security considerations and as a way to support the local economy, Cheung said. These Chinese operating systems “want to target the government or financial sectors. But actually they have already been targeting these segments for a long time. So we see no new value proposition,” he added. 

Microsoft could not be reached for comment.

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