Chinese companies prefer Windows, survey shows

When it comes to operating systems, Chinese government efforts to promote Linux and open-source software as an alternative to Windows may make for interesting rhetoric but they have hardly deterred Chinese users from choosing Microsoft Corp.'s OS, according to the results of a recent Chinese government survey.

Among 638 Chinese companies surveyed, 85 percent of all computer systems were found to be running some version of the Windows OS, the State Economic & Trade Commission (SETC) reported. By comparison, 10 percent of systems run some flavor of Unix, 3 percent run Linux and 1 percent run Mac OS.

The 638 companies covered by the survey included many of China's most important companies across 33 industrial sectors, including aviation, telecommunication, electronics and finance, among others.

The results of the official survey come one month after Microsoft lost out on a high-profile tender for desktop software put forward by the Beijing municipal government. Instead of selecting software from Microsoft, the Beijing government chose software from six Chinese software companies, including Linux developer Red Flag Software Co. Ltd.

However, while analysts and other industry pundits have often spoke of the rapid growth and vast potential for Linux in China -- and the possible threat to Microsoft's business that this represents -- the SETC survey reflects just how deeply entrenched Microsoft Windows has become in the country's commercial sector.

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