Alibaba’s six-year-old excursion into mobile operating systems is faltering in China, casting doubt over software that bears billionaire-founder Jack Ma’s name and was once touted as key to countering Tencent. China’s largest e-commerce company debuted YunOS in 2011, a system that underpins search, shopping and browsing that its executives last year said could attain as much as 25% domestic market share by the end of 2016, surpassing Apple’s iOS. Six years on, YunOS’ slice of China software installations stands at just 2.2% while its share of 2016 shipments was 10%, researchers Canalys and Counterpoint estimate, respectively. Alibaba disputes those numbers. Alibaba managers have grown increasingly unhappy with its sluggish adoption and have begun an internal debate around the software’s future, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The talks reflect the inability of a once-vaunted initiative to forestall Tencent’s dominance in the mobile arena, secured through the utility of WeChat.
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