The Chinese government is taking the lead in developing an OS for computers and smartphones that can compete with the market leaders, Microsoft, Google and Apple, state news agency Xinhau said yesterday.
The initiative isn’t the country’s first attempt at a homegrown OS. Mobile World Live reported in January that Chinese authorities unveiled a domestically-developed mobile platform, called China Operating System, also intended to address the dominance of Android in the local market.
And a number of Asian tech players have had similar aspirations. Alibaba announced three years ago plans to develop its own OS to rival the Android and Windows Phone platforms. The cloud-based AMOS, previously called Aliyun OS, has languished in the market after run-ins trying to cooperate with Google.
Samsung’s attempt at creating its own mobile OS, Tizen, has faced a myriad of problems, with Tizen-powered phone launches, most recently the Z smartphone delayed indefinitely .
The company, however, has introduced tablets and smartwatches running the OS.
The latest move by China, driven by concerns about possible ‘backdoor’ surveillance capabilities and a monopoly investigation of Microsoft, is seen by many as yet another step by the government to develop domestic firms and products at the expense of foreign ones.
In May China banned the use of Microsoft Windows 8 by the government. Microsoft is one of as many as 30 foreign tech firms under investigation by the country’s antitrust regulator.
The OS development alliance, part of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, was set up in March to lead the government programme.
Ni Guangnan, head of the alliance, told Xinhau that China has more than a dozen mobile OS developers with no independent intellectual property rights because their research is based on Android. He said the desktop version would come out in October and be followed by an OS for mobile devices.
Xinhau quoted Ni as saying: “Our key to success lies in an environment that can help us compete with Google, Apple and Microsoft.”