Update: A source close to Microsoft tells me the software – which is not yet complete – will be used only by public sector agencies. No information was provided as to how the software differs from the standard Chinese version of Windows 10.
While Apple has strongly resisted building a special ‘GovtOS’ to provide the U.S. government with access to iOS devices, it appears that Microsoft has no such qualms. TechInAsia reports that Microsoft has created a special version of Windows 10 for China, called Windows 10 Zhuangongban, which includes “more management and security controls.”
Although Microsoft hasn’t gotten any more specific than that, I’d agree with TNW that these controls are likely to have been introduced at the request of the Chinese government for domestic surveillance purposes.
We’re currently waiting to hear whether the Apple vs FBI case will return to court, or whether it will quietly fade away now that the FBI is receiving technical assistance from elsewhere. Apple, meantime, seemingly believes that not even the servers it purchases are safe from interception. It was reported last week that it is developing its own cloud infrastructure specifically to reduce the risk of snooping.