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.
Craig Mundie (third from right), chief
research and strategy officer at Microsoft, and George He (second from
left), senior vice-president and chief technology officer at Lenovo, at a
ceremony to announce the firms' joint innovation center in Beijing
yesterday. [China Daily]
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
The announcement came a day before Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' 10th visit
to China as the software behemoth considers its future here.
"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 handheld devices.
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
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 phones.
(China Daily 04/18/2007 page14)