Microsoft signs .Net deal in China

Microsoft has signed two agreements intended to deepen the company's ties with the Chinese government, even as the country's officials embark on programs meant to entrench rival open-source systems within the state infrastructure.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, was in Bejing on Thursday to sign a deal that will partner the software giant with the state-owned China National Computer Software & Technology Service (CS&S), the country's largest domestic software development and systems integration firm. The two companies are set to co-develop products based on Microsoft's .Net and Office System platforms. Another focus of the agreement is IT training, with plans for the companies to jointly train 200 CS&S developers and 120 IT architects within one year, according to a press statement from Microsoft. "CS&S will not only strive in its current position as the largest IT solutions and service provider in China, but to be one of the top IT outsourcing companies in the world," said Tang Min, president of CS&S.

Microsoft and CS&S have jointly developed security products based on the Chinese versions of Windows 2000 and Windows XP. In February, the government-run China Information Technology Security Certification Center signed an agreement with Microsoft to participate in the company's Government Security Program. In September, CS&S signed a source code agreement with the IT security center and Microsoft, and it will have controlled access to Windows source code. Separately, Ballmer signed an agreement under which Microsoft will contribute $10 million to bring IT services to primary schools, especially those in poorer, more remote parts of the country. Microsoft China will partner with the Ministry of Education to upgrade teachers' IT training and support activities, the company said.

News source: C|net

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