BEIJING – Bill Gates said Thursday that Microsoft Corp. plans to invest more in its research operations in China and said he wasn’t concerned about the possible impact on the software maker of China’s efforts to enact antitrust legislation.
The co-founder and chairman of the world’s biggest software company said Microsoft is interested in pursuing research in China aimed at developing mobile phone technology.
“The mobile market here is quite phenomenal,” Gates told an audience of hundreds of Chinese university students who filled a cavernous hall at Beijing’s Olympic Center. “That’s an area where the United States is not a leader, so it’s particularly important for us to look around the world.”
He said the company would be spending even more of its $6.8 billion annual research budget in China, but didn’t give details.
Gates’ visit to China comes amid official efforts to dilute the dominance of Microsoft’s Windows operating system by developing a Chinese alternative based on the open-source Linux system.
Gates said Tuesday while visiting Malaysia that Microsoft might offer lower-cost versions of Windows for developing Asian countries, though he wouldn’t say whether China was included.
Redmond-based Microsoft says its Beijing development laboratory is one of its most successful research centers. China has the world’s largest mobile-phone market, with about 250 million users.
At a news conference, Gates said he wasn’t concerned about China’s plans to enact antitrust laws that could target Microsoft.
“I don’t expect problems,” Gates said. “We already do business in over 50 countries that have laws like that, and we’re in full compliance with those laws.”
European regulators recently ruled against Microsoft, saying it unfairly hurt rivals by building its multimedia software into Windows. The company is appealing.
Bill Gates answers questions Thursday while demonstrating a tablet PC to students during a visit to a Beijing middle school.