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Microsoft strikes deal with China's Baidu, gets a chance to upgrade more than half a billion PCs to Windows 10

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 28, 2015
But gives up something big in return: Bing as the default search within Edge browser.

In his blog post, Mehdi also said 10 million devices -- certainly the vast bulk of them PCs -- are already running Windows 10 in China.

According to Baidu's statistics, most of that 10 million access its search engine: With 600 million active users -- a figure Microsoft quoted -- the 1.1% running Windows 7 would represent 6.6 million PCs, assuming page views were distributed equally. Baidu uses page views to track OS shares.

That's a lot of machines. Even more important for Microsoft -- and its goal to reach 1 billion Windows 10 devices by mid-2018 -- 49.2% of the devices that reached Baidu's search engine last month ran Windows 7, while 5.6% ran Windows 8. Together, they'd represent another 528 million potential Windows 10 upgrades.

No wonder Microsoft is eager to tap into the China market.

To help Microsoft do that, Baidu has embedded a large banner on its results page when someone searches for "Windows 10," as did Computerworld. The banner, which is branded with logos of both Baidu and Microsoft, touts Windows 10's free upgrade to eligible PCs, with a button labeled "Learn more" prominently displayed.

Clicking on the button shunts the user to a promotional page, where a Windows application, Win10Express_OnlineSetup.exe can be downloaded. Once installed, the application checks the PC for upgrade eligibility, runs a system scan to ensure the machine is able to handle the new OS, and then begins the upgrade download.

Baidu's Windows 10 Express application scans the PC for upgrade eligibility. This Windows 7 system failed the test, just as it did using Microsoft's own exam.


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