In a move against the dominance of Microsoft on Chinese desktop computers, the State Council has issued a new policy stating that all government ministries can only buy locally produced software when they need to upgrade.

This policy, expected to be in place by the end of 2003, will remove both the Windows operating system and Office productivity suite from hundreds of thousands of government computers by 2010 and is a deliberate move to support the local software industry.

Gao Zhigang, an official with the Procurement Center of the State Council, indicated that once the new policy is in effect, the government will only buy hardware with domestic operating systems and applications, such as WPS Office 2003, a suite of productivity tools developed in China.

Despite Microsoft's recent attempts to gain popularity, including creating a new CEO position for China and agreeing to reveal Windows code to the government, China is determined to challenge Western technology. There are also security issues at stake, with China officially supporting the Red Flag Linux operating system, whose open source code allows officials to see there are no spy holes installed by foreign powers. It is unclear whether this move contravenes the charters of the WTO, of which China is a recent member.

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