Microsoft will offer Chinese government users a special version of Windows 10 as part of a new joint venture, the company announced late Wednesday.
A new company, called C&M Information Technologies, will work to license, deploy, manage and optimize Windows 10 for Chinese government agencies and some businesses that are owned by the government. It's the result of a partnership between Microsoft and the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group.
The resulting Windows 10 image will be approved by the Chinese government, and will include things like antivirus software selected by the government. The joint venture company will provide "product activation, patch management, deployment services and product support" locally, and will also collect feedback about user requirements to develop future versions of the software, too.
Windows 10 already includes some extra benefits for users in China. Cortana supports spoken and written queries in Chinese and offers users a forecast of the expected air quality around them.
The deal is still pending U.S. regulatory approval, and there's no guarantee that it will actually lead to adoption among government customers in China. However, it's a marked difference from the company's other recent public relations with the Chinese government. A government procurement center recently banned agencies from purchasing PCs loaded with Windows 8.
It's an important deal for Microsoft. While Windows is popular in China, piracy of Microsoft's software runs rampant. The Middle Kingdom is a fast-growing technology market, but in order to actually make money from Chinese consumers and businesses, Microsoft needs them to pay up.