Microsoft ditches its proprietary Bing search engine in favor of Baidu in China, a clear ploy to bolster the popularity of its latest Windows 10 OS in the country. Hence, Baidu.com now becomes Microsoft Edge’s default search engine and homepage for Windows 10 users in China. The service will also power native Universal Windows Apps for search, videos, Music, Cloud and more for Windows 10.
“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”, said Yusuf Mehdi, Windows and Devices Vice President in the announcement blog.
According to Microsoft, only around 10 million Windows users have upgraded to the latest version of OS, and to increase the userbase, Baidu will offer a “Windows 10 Express” install option for around 600 million if its active users.
Apparently it is not the first time Microsoft is joining hands with Chinese tech giants. Back in March, the company struck a deal with China’s largest smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, who has agreed to provide cloud services via its Windows Azure platform. In addition, the agreement will also allow users of Xiaomi’s latest Android-powered ‘Mi’ smartphones, with the option to switch to Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 Mobile OS.
As we are all aware, companies from Silicon Valley have to make quite a few sacrifices to operate in China. Google, for instance, had to forgo most of its services out of the country in 2010. International tech companies are finding it rather hard to stay competitive in the country, given stringent regulatory environment the Chinese government has imposed. Just last year, the Chinese government banned the use of Windows 8 from its official computers, as it was investigating Microsoft’s way of distributing the OS in the country.
While the company’s latest Xbox One console just went on sale in the country, after a ban was lifted recently given the country’s restrictions on foreign-made consoles. Other tech giants such including the likes of Google and Facebook are facing similar, as they are not allowed to operate within the country.
Microsoft is expected to unveil a slew of Windows 10 hardware at its upcoming October 6 event. One of them could be the highly awaited next-gen Surface hybrid, which is rumored to get Intel’s latest Skylake processors. Other major announcements expected could be top-end Windows-based handsets – the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.