US software giant Microsoft said yesterday it will set up its
first joint research facility with another company, Chinese partner
Lenovo Group, in Beijing, an unprecedented move with an investment
of several million dollars a year.
The facility will be based in Lenovo's research and development
center in the capital, with around 40 engineers from Lenovo and
tools, training and some staff from Microsoft.
The announcement came a day before Microsoft Chairman Bill
Gates' 10th visit to China as the software behemoth considers its
"Based on our common understanding that personal computers will
extend to every part of people's work and life, we believe our
cooperation will bring many many opportunities to Lenovo and
Microsoft," said George He, senior vice-president and chief
technology officer of Lenovo.
Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft,
said the two companies will try to identify opportunities in the
consumer and mobile markets such as digital photography, digital
media and the Internet.
He said the joint center will develop products for Lenovo in
areas like corporate computing, digital homes, Windows value-added
services, as well as ultra-portal computing devices and smart
The two companies will share intellectual property generated
from the joint center and Lenovo will also be able to use the
results in its research and development facilities in the United
States and Japan.
"We figured out this cooperation around the dining table for our
New Year gathering, as both Microsoft and Lenovo were thinking
about where we should go, after making significant achievements on
personal computers," said Tim Chen, senior vice-president of
Microsoft and chairman and CEO of its Chinese operations.
Lenovo, with over 30 percent of the market share in China, has
played a critical role in Microsoft's success in the world's
second-largest computer market.
It was the first Chinese computer vendor to announce in 2005
that it would only use legitimate operating systems on its
computers. Last year alone, Lenovo sold 5 million units of
computers with Microsoft Windows operating systems, out of its
total shipment of 8 million units.
While Lenovo will get technological support from Microsoft in
the joint center, Lenovo will help the US software giant to learn
the habits of consumers and extend its control in the market from
computers to other devices.
Lenovo's He said China has become one of the most sophisticated
markets in the world in terms of the complexity of IT tasks of
Chinese institutions like banks and telecom operators, as well as
the maturity of high-end users.
He said Lenovo has rich experience and influence on customers,
which will be helpful for Microsoft.
The world's largest software firm also signed a deal with
Chinese consumer electronics firm Amoi yesterday to develop smart
(China Daily April 18, 2007)