Lenovo Thinkcentre m720q TinySource: Windows Central

What you need to know

  • The Chinese government directed Chinese government offices and public institutions to remove foreign software and computer equipment within three years.
  • The move could have a significant impact on several manufacturers, including Microsoft, Dell, and HP.
  • Analysts estimate that between 20 to 30 million devices will need to be replaced.

The Chinese government told Chinese government offices and public institutions that they need to remove all foreign software and computer equipment within three years, according to a report by the Financial Times. The move could require 20 to 30 million devices to be replaced in that time, according to analysts that spoke with the Financial Times. This move is the next step in a lengthening trade war between the United States and the Chinese government.

The move to replace so many devices could have a large impact on American manufacturers like Microsoft, Dell, and HP, but could also impact the China-based Lenovo. As the Guardian points out, Lenovo is based in China, but parts of its devices, including processors and hard drives, are made by American companies.

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In addition to the impact on hardware, the move could have major effects on software. The Windows 10 operating system is made by Microsoft, an American company. If all offices and public institutions in China need to remove any device running Windows, it will have far-reaching effects on devices regardless of their place of origin. Microsoft recently received a license to export "mass-market" software to Huawei, a Chinese company, but that was before the news broke of this new direction from the Chinese government.

Analysts told the Financial Times that 30 percent of substitutions would occur in 2020, with 50 percent in 2021, and the last 20 percent in 2022.