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With Windows 10, Microsoft Looks To China For Growth

The operating system update will launch in 190 countries, and allows people with pirated versions of its products to upgrade.

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After unveiling Windows 10 in January, Microsoft on Wednesday announced its plans for how its operating system update will roll out.

This summer, Microsoft Windows 10 will launch in 190 countries, and Microsoft's biggest focus seems to be on expanding abroad, specifically in China. Microsoft said, in an interview with Reuters, that it will be offering free upgrades to users using pirated versions of Microsoft software. Traditionally, Microsoft has been focused on preventing piracy wherever possible.

While it's typical for companies to offer free upgrades to users that paid for software (or, in Apple's case, for hardware) to keep them in the ecosystem, this is a play to get a wide range of people and companies all on the same modern system. Internal estimates from Microsoft say that only about 1 in 10 Chinese customers pays for its software and, according to a 2013 study, 74% of the commercial software used in China is pirated. By making the upgrade to Windows 10 free, even with pirated software, Windows stands to gain many millions of users in the Chinese market on official versions of its products.

Microsoft also announced partnerships with a number of companies to help maximize the impact of Windows 10 across multiple platforms, especially mobile. Among them is Xiaomi, China's largest smartphone vendor.

Brendan Klinkenberg is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Brendan Klinkenberg at brendan.klinkenberg@buzzfeed.com.

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