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Chinese government gives Windows 8 the cold shoulder

Windows 8 devices

The Chinese government released a statement today in which it declared that it will not be using Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system on any government computers. China's Central Government Procurement Center issued the ban, citing the usage of energy-saving products.

The Chinese central government's news channel, Xinhua News Agency, stated that the ban was enforced to ensure computer security, without elaborating on how the ban would promote energy-saving products or ensure security. The ban means that Windows 8 cannot be installed on any desktop, laptop or tablet that is used for government work.

China's decision to ban Windows 8 may be a direct result of Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows XP last month. The lack of support means that users on Windows XP are now vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

According to data firm Canalys, Windows XP makes up an estimated 50 percent of the desktop market share in China. Even though computer sales in China match that of the U.S., the revenue generated from software is a fraction of the hardware sales due to rampant piracy.

The Chinese government reportedly asked Microsoft to offer continued Windows XP support for free, mentioning that most users in the country recently purchased genuine licenses. However, Microsoft issued a statement announcing that China, like the rest of the world, will have to pay for custom support.

Microsoft China has taken special actions to closely work with leading Chinese internet security and anti-virus companies including Tencent for them to provide security protection for Chinese Windows XP users before they upgrade to modern operating system.

China's decision to ban Windows 8 will severely affect Microsoft's ability to market the OS in the region, as the government is the biggest source of revenue for computer software companies in the country. The government is reportedly working on an alternative to Windows XP based on Linux that will be distributed freely to all users in the country.

Source: Reuters

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Reader comments

Chinese government gives Windows 8 the cold shoulder

153 Comments

This issue has something to do with the case on Chinese officials spying on US companies. This is their version of retaliation to US.

I wonder how MS would have reacted if I demanded free support for all the copies of office and windows I pirated as a teenager.

Distributing a custom version of Linux to all users for free? Lol what an epic fail that will turn out to be. It would be the equivalent of the NSA only allowing a custom build OS made by them being available for free. Or Google Chrome.

Sounds like a great way to make the Great Firewall of China even more powerful. Everyone gets free OS, government controls what you do easier.

Decision might be based on fear that the NSA might have a way to access PC's via the OS. Just might take on it, although not sure how a free solution offers more of a robust solution.

This is more about the Chinese being able to spy on their own people. They have tons of very effective spyware running on XP. The Chinese govt has even released activation hacks to the public which have their spyware build in.

Don't comment on India bcos that was Issue with Nokia and nothing to do with Microsoft. MS has 30% indian employees and big campuses across the country. China's decision is harsh n foolish. I will never give up windows for any fuckall OS

Microsoft Mobile Oy now has ALL the problems of India.
India and Finland have a tax agreement that each tax their own.
Now India wants to do double taxing.
I want both Obama and Niinistö to put high taxes to products from India.
 

Well ... Yes and no. Yes that the problem at Chennai still exist and it's definitely affect Microsoft Mobile Oy. But no, that factory is not included from the deal. Technically, it still owned by Nokia (which will be operated for Microsoft Mobile until uncertain future). So the one who has the problems at Chennai is still Nokia.

Dude till the taxation issue is over the factory will be in the hands of Nokia. And India has a new govt now.. Probably this problem will be sorted out sooner. So stop calling out BS about things your not aware of and making yourself look bad..

So you love a crooked taxman who wants bribes "the typical India way" - right?
Maybe you ARE the very taxman who had this venomous idea to tax illegally?

Your assumptions are as wrong as you are. You don't appear like a Jerk to me but why does your words sound like that? Still pulling that case which was closed with 5000 employees taking severances (as of now)?
Nokia/MS is going nowhere from India. India is a big market for them if not the biggest. At least from their recent remarks-

Nokia CEO said India is a good example for the company where the company has to focus on strategy for both high-end and entry-level mobile phones.
"India sets that aspiration... we also recognised very large number of people who are more constrained in their ability to spend. I think India is a good example where we have to do both. There are countries around the world where only high end plays, United States is an example," Elop said.

I would never want a company to get unrooted from a region no matter where its established. But what you are saying is called racism in simple words.

Just bing and find out about tax scams by Google, Apple and the likes in various countries. These corporates are greedy. They manipualte and they evade. When it happens in India, you say India is corrupt. Does it sound fair?

India did the same thing years ago. Tried to make a new OS for students and then thought of taking it to govt after a while. It was called BOSS, based on Linux. Failed miserably. I had it installed on a partition once, Ubuntu was 10^10 times better than that.
Anyway, India is never harsh, and that's why BOSS didn't even see the light of the day. China is harsh and their OS would HAVE to be adopted by people.

Same goes to Indonesia. Our country was initiating IGOS (Abbreviated from Indonesia Go Open Sources) project back then at 2004~2006. That OS was derived from RedHat (kinda like current CentOS) if I'm not mistaken. That time, I even take part as an instructor for those government employees to teach them Linux. The result? Failed. Now a lots of workstations are back to Windows.

I guess it's as you said. Our Government does not strict enough to enforce that IGOS usages so employee seldomly revert back to Windows.

A government produced OS; what could possibily go wrong? :)

Would anyone in China be stupid enough to trust an OS from their government?

It would probably send all your browsing history to their servers for monitoring you, then it would have a system that the govt can access any file, all saved passwords, all info on your pc easily. That's china.

No actually. They'd do this: make it mandatory in all govt offices within a few years, then stop all release of windows supporting things. Maybe block govt sites on windows pcs, and thus leave people unable to access those files. They'd probably release a public warning an year in advance, and then cut down on windows. That's china-style.

This is no great loss for Microsoft. Everyone over there pirates Windows so MS wasn't exactly making a fortune in that market anyway. China has already called an end to a failed attempt at a "national" Linux based OS as recently as last year and they will no doubt fail again. It will only be a matter of time before they eventually have to relent and start using future versions of Windows.

I have said it before, I'll say it again. Linux will never be a mainstream OS Because the Linux community are too elitist, too fragmented, and expect everything for free. they will never get any Major backers cause they can't agree on which flavor is the best to back. "But, that's the beauty of Linux, anyone can choose what they want." No, that's it's biggest downfall. Little support around one flavor would go somewhere.

What I mean is, there is no 3rd party software support, and what does exist is garbage.

But then you also have to have software to back it up. No major players are going to jump in that ring till it can be proven there is worth there. As of now, and going forward, the Fragmented Linux community only kills themselves.

LOL are you serious? XP's support end was announced years ago, who the duck, yeah duck, didn't know it's end? It was so obvious that it would happen soon or late

50% of the computers use XP, and I am pretty sure half the computers I have used over there use NT 4. And they are all bogged down with more malware than you can shake a stick at. I think it is high time they consider some upgrades.

I doubt who else will give better security than Microsoft .. I am afraid that they will suffer financial losses with those crap Linux getting hacked.

Not just that the money it takes to change over is gonna kill them that's what Microsoft's been tryna explain you whole infrastructure from the bottom to the top has to be changed and that in no way is cheap

I think it also plays into the NSA and the cyber attacks, they don't want windows 8 because they figure the us will implement back door access that allows our government to hack

We need to just stop affiliating with China. We give china too much power. Close factories in China and open them up in the Caribbean or somewhere else

Actually, that's what they're doing. They think they've got too much power, and find it below their dignity to pay for security (or, to pay for an upgrade even). This is the result of letting them think they can force their way.

Don't forget that the US owes China trillions of dollars, and they've been artificially inflating their currency's value. This may be part of a move to bring fact & actuality back into the mix.

Yeah. And we here in India shell out a third of a month's salary (talking about a comfortable household here, which earns about $2000 a month here) for high end phones. To hell with the dollar's price !

I read it earlier nsa hurt all tech support for overseas countries especially china and the way we shunned huwaei don't help either

So u don't think the government wasn't doing the same, we send them windows 8 on their government computers, what's stopping NSA from popping In when they want, NSA was caught spying now us tech is having hell getting overseas business back

Does anyone else still use Linux. I have a computer I run Xubuntu on, and my experience is that the real power of the platform is the terminal. The GUI half of things just doesn't feel right and even running the older more stable version is not as stable as an operating system you pay for... Not even considering how much more polished a purchased product like Office is compared to OpenOffice. You really do get what you pay for.

I only ever use it for servers, console only. I gave it a go a few times, but the available software just doesn't stack up. Open Office is worse even than Google Docs for compatibility and ease of use, and that's saying something. And don't even get me started on Gimp.

I like Linux. Hell, I prefer it over the Win8 that came on my new laptop. The problem is, I also like to game on my PC, more even than on my console. Linux != gaming, not even with wine. The best you can do is to run a virtual machine and put windows on it for gaming, but still, that eats into the resources.

What is the relationship between this news and removal of whatsapp from windows store??? Need some thinking I guess.

Well I guess Windows 8 it's just way too hard to crack.

At least (I hope) with Linux they are encouraging the end of piracy.

That's true, there isn't actually permanent patch for it like they're was for the other OSes. Would be hilarious if this was the real reason ;-)

They cannot hack through the Windows 8 security to spy on the people, it is a major national security risk to them.

How, because a particularly and fairly recent regime doesn't want to dig into their pockets to catch up, tech wise? It's the global equivalent of getting mad and taking your ball home.

Yes, because we all know how resource intensive and inefficient Windows 8 is, and not to mention what a security disaster it is. Yes, XP forever: It's the only way society can function. [/sarcasm]

Chinese thinks they are GODS. The article also mentioned about "rampant piracy". Well, they copy almost everything from every FMCG that we know. What a bunch of...

Well, if they think they can make it using Linux, they have their reasons, there's nothing to do, they chose their path I'm afraid

I like how they're developing a new Linux distro to be distributed to their citizens. What are the odds it contains a backdoor so the government can spy on everything? I'm thinking pretty good.

Sounding a lot like the North Korea OS based on Linux. Intended to replace XP in the country, full of propaganda, restrictions and backdoors.

What it is very suprising is that they did not do this before. Could anyone even imagine the US government using a Chinese OS, even if it were the most widely used in the world? Absolutely NOT.

So, why people think it is so weird the Chinese gov. finally decided to use a home grown solution? It should have happened many years ago. Cheaper, more secure and totally controlled. It is the most sensible solution.

Actually all govs. should do the same. At least the big ones (USA, EU, Japan, etc...)

Cheaper, yes, since they are using cheap chinese labor for maintenance. TCO would not be a problem. More secure? yes, using the definition of the Chinese government. Totally controlled, a resounding yes. But is this all about an OS? How about efficiency, productivity, software availability? These don't count in your book.

What I said applies to any big country.

On the long term it is cheaper to make you own software than buy it from a company that, by definition, needs to make a (big) profit.

More secure, because as it is for government use only, it can be locked down.

Most sofware used by government should be specialized custom software or open source anyway. Government does not usually needs photoshop, so to speak.

 

Microsoft is making the mistake. They shouldn't support windows xp for companies anymore. It would be a smart move to release the source code of windows XP. So everyone would know about it. That could increase the protection by also increasing securtiy threads to XP. Forcing and leading them to go for windows 7/8.1. Making security threads by releasing source code would be a magical move. Also Microsoft should guarantee 10 years of update by releasing a new version each year for free without the need of hardware upgrade and new drivers shouldn't be needed..  The first version was 8.0 and the last version should be 8.9

By the way, it seems many people did not read the article and thinks Windows 8 is being banned in China, but it is NOT. The Chinese GOVERNMENT decided not to upgrade to Windows 8. Nothing else.

So? Windows 8 is still not banned in China, as some people understood. And if most Chinese gov. systems are still using XP, I wonder how could it be a big revenue source for MS in the last years. I would like to see where that data came from, because it sounds weird.

Who says they will use Linux. They will probably make a copy of Windows 8, call it WinDong 8 or something, and then keep updating it by hacking the Windows 8 updates.

Maybe they will start using Windows 7 like most compaines, agencies and goverments do, it the safest Windows at the moment. But, I can't understand why they are suprised that the support for xp ends, they can pay for extended support they should have the money. Why should Ms support a software that is older than 10 years for free when you pay for all other services in the world???

I would say the security excuse is rediculous as Linux will have less security than XP... But they won't be using a mouse secure is... and it will be recommended g for all residents with Chinese governments back doors preinstalled. ;)

Personally I'd have been happier if they'd just said,
"We want to ban Windows 8 because we're pretty sure the NSA will use it to spy on us"

That's probably the truth anyway...

Could always use Ubuntu on government computers. That's a pretty weak alternative to Windows 7 or 8 though.

Note, no ban on Windows 7.

Just curious, China not gonna use Windows 8/8.1, Microsoft gonna kill XP very soon, China will surely use Windows 7 like maybe for another 15 until microsoft kills Windows 7? If its because of retaliation or NSA, they wont use Windows 9 and above too? Then what? Switch to Android? Haha!

Hey its their decision. Microsoft needs to get their ducks in a row and have a clear plan. Of late it seems they wing a lot of shit and not thinking through with a clear plan

They refuse to replace XP with Windows 8 because Windows 8 is harder to pirate and they don't want to pay the licensing fees. Heaven forbid they keep their tech current and have to pay a company outside of their control for something they use to run their business.

Lol free open source always ends up being more painful and expensive in the long run, in the enterprise world. Been through two of those in my previous life and the both blew up in their faces.

Sounds like they're having a problem pirating Windows 8. Bought one copy and thought that's all they needed. Oh well.

I wonder if there will ever be a statement from the Chinese government that isn't some sort of cover story for something else. It's rather exhausting cutting through all the BS. Sadly most of their people still living in the country seem completely brainwashed too. Sad times.

Let them have fun building and maintaining an OS. it'll cost them more. Nothing is "free" including Linux, Chrome, Android etc