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Microsoft, Lenovo Disclose Joint Research Effort

Research center in Beijing will focus on developing mobile technologies and customized versions of Microsoft products for Lenovo's PC platforms.
Chinese computer maker Lenovo said Tuesday that it is teaming up with Microsoft to launch a joint research center in Beijing.

Activity at the center, which will be carved out of Lenovo's existing Beijing R&D facility, will focus on developing mobile technologies and customized versions of Microsoft products for Lenovo's PC platforms.

Lenovo and Microsoft didn't disclose financial details about the arrangement. The two companies will share rights to any intellectual property developed in the center, Lenovo said.

A year ago, Microsoft and Lenovo signed a deal under which the companies pledged to work together to combat software piracy in China and educate consumers in the country about the benefits of using fully licensed products.

Lenovo acquired IBM's PC business in 2005, a move that immediately vaulted it into the number-three spot on the list of the world's largest computer makers, behind Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

On Wednesday, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates was scheduled to meet with Chinese business and government leaders in Beijing to discuss initiatives aimed at bolstering the company's commercial ties in the country.

Also on Wednesday, Microsoft officials in Beijing announced a partnership with Intel and several other companies to launch a Web-based forum designed to link tech startups in the Asia-Pacific region with venture capitalists. In a statement, Microsoft said it hopes that the effort, dubbed SoftwareAP.net, will eventually include more than 70,000 companies.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing