The governments of China, Japan, and South Korea are banding together to create an open-source OS (likely to be based on Linux) that will challenge Windows, the dominant--and proprietary--OS that currently owns about 95 percent of the market. The countries announced the plan this week, with Japan earmarking more than $85.5 million for the project. The countries' ministers of trade will meet in late September to work out details of the plan, which will address the needs of Japanese consumer electronics companies such as Fujitsu, Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), and NEC.
"Japan does not have the intention of rejecting a certain product," a spokesman for the Japanese Minister of Trade said. "However, Microsoft Windows dominates everywhere, although people also want to test different products. Therefore it is important to work on alternatives."
Predictably, Microsoft isn't terribly excited about the news. "We'd like to see the market decide who the winners are in the software industry," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "Governments should not be in the position to decide who the winners are." The company said that it's communicating with the Japanese government about the project. However, in the wake of this year's MSBlaster and SoBig.F Internet attacks, Microsoft doesn't find itself bargaining from a position of power. The company's software is widely viewed as less secure than Linux, despite much evidence to the contrary. That Windows is attacked more often than Linux is indisputable, however, and this fact, combined with the economic realties of such attacks, might have helped these countries reach their decision.