Microsoft has partnered with Baidu to make the Chinese firm’s search engine the default option for Windows 10.
Baidu is the leading search engine in China, and the deal will see it replace Microsoft’s in-house search engine Bing.
The Chinese firm will initially offer a new Windows 10 distribution channel called Baidu Windows 10 Express, allowing Chinese customers to download “an official Windows 10 experience”. Baidu will also provide Universal Windows Applications offering functionality such as searches, cloud, maps and video.
Microsoft SVP Yusuf Mehdi said: “We remain deeply committed to delivering Bing around the world and we’re also committed to offering locally relevant experiences – like Baidu in China – to provide great Windows 10 experiences.”
Mehdi’s remarks suggest that Microsoft will form more local alliances, and this is supported by ongoing cooperation between the US firm and Chinese device manufacturer Xiaomi, which is currently running trials for Windows 10 on its mobile devices.
The Microsoft deals are significant given the common perception among US tech firms that they are excluded from the Chinese market. During his visit to the US, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for the issue to be addressed, but also for the US to reduce restrictions on civilian IT exports to China.
Li also called for the US to facilitate Chinese investment in the market, with firms such as Huawei feeling ‘frozen out’ by the US government in the same way that American firms have seen their attempts to break into China stymied.