Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is changing its focus in the Chinese market from providing online content to Windows 10 integration and offering software and also giving services for the devices that run on the Windows 10 platform. The news means that the company will now shut down its Chinese web portal, and it plans to do so next month.
The company is under investigation at the moment by Chinese antitrust authorities. The closure does not mean not investing in the company, but they plan to continue doing so and also to continue maintaining their research and development operations there.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said the company was heavily committed to China, and they still continued to offer a whole list of products which included but not limited to Windows 10 integration, software, cloud services and the hosting of the largest research and development center which is located outside of the United States.
On its MSN China page, the tech giant posted a notification to its clients that said the portal would cease to exist on June 7. The portal hosted a lot of products such as the Web search service and also included lifestyle information. After the date, if users go to cn.msn.com, they will be redirected to a directory page consisting of Chinese websites together with a Bing search bar.
The news comes a fee months after the company struck a deal with the Chinese search company, Baidu Inc. to make the Baidu.com the default search engine for users who used the Microsoft Edge browser in China. The deal, which was made in September last year, was seen to be a way to boost the popularity and use of the Windows 10 software in China. The country usually sees pirated versions being widely used. The Chinese search giant, Baidu, also agreed to simplify the process of updating to Windows 10 to its customers.
The deal was also a way for Microsoft to shift and change focus from managing display advertising. The feature is at the core of its MSN service. In Last June the company made a deal with Verizon AOL, to have the company take over the display advertising business.
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The company is trying to do business with the Chinese market; something analysts view as instrumental to any companies growth at the moment. The government, however, has been questioning the motives of Microsoft. In January, the company was asked to explain the major problems that were in the data they had provided as part of the antitrust investigation of the company. The investigation came as a result of foreign companies worried that the Chinese authorities were using the 2008 antimonopoly law against them.
Microsoft is not the only company to fight with the Chinese government. Back in 2010, Google Inc., stopped its Chinese operations after they encountered some cyber attacks which were aimed at the Gmail users and disagreements with the Chinese government over censorship. Chip maker, Qualcomm Inc. paid around $975 million to settle government claims that it had violated the new antimonopoly law.
The new move by Microsoft to close its Web portal comes at a time the Chinese government has started turning the screws on American tech companies again. In the past month, they shut Apple’s iTunes and iBooks service and also suspended a Walt Disney and Alibaba partnership that would have seen the introduction of Disney characters to the Chinese screens.
The company might be slowing down on its consumer Web use in China, but they are aggressively expanding the cloud computing business in the country. They have huge data centers in Beijing and Shanghai which provide Web-based, on-demand computing services and data storage for customers.