We’ve gotten used to American dominance in the internet/software industries. That may not last forever:
Over the weekend, China announced that it was planning to launch a homegrown operating system to replace Windows and Android for running the nation’s desktop and mobile devices. The first iteration of this “Made in China” OS could roll out as early as October
There is some good and bad with this. The good is that more competition in these industries would be great. While there is already a fair amount of disruption and innovation here, there are also some key products/services where a couple firms are pretty dominant. Consumers would benefit tremendously from more competition.
At the same time, this may not play out exactly like we free market supporters would like. For example:
- “This new Chinese OS, almost certainly, would be much more of a top-down initiative from the Chinese government (via the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) that may be more about meeting the needs of the government rather than meeting the needs of consumers.”
- “China’s government could build in backdoors and trapdoors to make it easier to monitor, control and censor users.”
- The basis of this new entrant into the OS market may in part be due to the fact that “Microsoft Windows 8 has been banned in China for use on new government computers since May.”
Americans have gained a lot from Chinese exports of products over the years. It would be great if the same thing could happen in the internet and software worlds.