Print 39 comment(s) - last by wallijonn.. on May 22 at 1:18 PM

Government is one of Microsoft's few paying customers in China, where piracy runs rampant

The Chinese government is in a bit of a spat with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) over Windows support.  Relations between the pair have long been strained over accusations of rampant piracy in the fast-growing Asian nation.
But with the end of support for most SKUs of the 13-year-old Windows XP things have reached the boiling point.  China has said that it plans to continue to use Windows XP on most government computers.  The government says it will patch the aging operating system itself, rather than pay Microsoft large fees as the UK government has agreed to.
Now it's lashed out at Microsoft with a punitive gesture.
In a Chinese language notice posted on the website of the China's Central Government Procurement Center the government official banned Windows 8 from its computers.  Reuters reports:

The official Xinhua news agency said the ban was to ensure computer security after Microsoft ended support for its Windows XP operating system, which was widely used in China.

It's not immediately clear how sticking with the unsupported Windows XP rather than the regularly updated Windows 8 will improve security.  The comment may also related to the growing rift between China and the U.S. over spying by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).  Amid accusations that the NSA is intercepting shipments of hardware and software from American companies and modifying them with spying features, China is looking to avoid government use of hardware made in America.

Windows 8 in China
Former Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky announces Windows 8 at an Oct. 2012 launch event in China. [Image Source: EPA]

Even if that was what China was hinting at, the prohibition notice was aired in an odd spot as it was put in an energy efficiency notice.
Windows 8 is still available for sale in the Chinese consumer market, retailing for 888 yuan, or roughly $142 USD.  Currently, roughly 50 percent of Chinese computers run Windows XP, well above the global consumer average of about 25 percent.  In 2011 then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told employees that due to China's rampant piracy Microsoft makes less in revenue from the Asian nation than the tiny European country of the Netherlands, whose population is about 1/80th the size of China's.
Still the decision of the Chinese government -- typically one of the few parties in China not to pirate Microsoft's products -- to snub Windows 8 is a blow to Microsoft's campaign to reinvigorate sales of the 2-year-old operating system.

Source: Reuters

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By Motoman on 5/20/2014 12:38:43 PM , Rating: 3
Personally I'm kind of astonished that China's government isn't just running everything on a bespoke version of Linux that they've created just for their own spyware-happy purposes.

They could make their own Linux distro with all the monitor-and-control features they clearly want and use that, and have total control over everything that their users see and do. And not have any dependance on the US, or anyone else, *at all*.

The fact that they haven't already done this kind of baffles me.

RE: Linux
By Murloc on 5/20/2014 1:19:13 PM , Rating: 3
incompetence and disorganization probably runs deep in the state.

Also most of the users of winXP in the government are not their military hacking team but helpless office workers. Go train them. It would require a massive concerted effort, the money would get lost to corrupt officials before the training is organized.
So they just keep going on with whatever works, this is my guess.

RE: Linux
By Motoman on 5/20/2014 1:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
Realistically speaking, using Linux isn't any different than using Windows. It looks and works pretty much the same exact way. Just in the same mannger that LibreOffice pretty much looks and works the same was as Microsoft Office.

The reason that Linux hasn't caught on is that it firstly has no support from the major software vendors, like Microsoft, to port their mainstream products to it. If MS Office was available for Linux, it would be a serious alternative for the business world. But it isn't, and likely never will be, so it isn't.

The other problem is poor hardware support - which admittedly has gotten better, but is still really spotty. And that means that you kind of have to be a computer expert to get Linux to work on a given machine...unless you're lucky enough to have one that "just works."

Both of those things conspire to keep Linux on the fringe - probably permanently. But ease-of-use for the basic computer user, once Linux is properly installed, isn't an issue.

RE: Linux
By Ammohunt on 5/20/2014 2:14:13 PM , Rating: 2
The other problem is poor hardware support - which admittedly has gotten better, but is still really spotty.

When did you last install Linux? Redhat 5? Not to sound rude but you don't know what you are talking about.

I use Windows at home for gaming only and have been running Linux almost exclusively at work (Senior Systems Administrator) for almost 5 years now except I run a Windows VM for Outlook since mail clients that connect to Exchange for Linux aren't quite there yet; but they are still damn good!

The largest problem with Linux is Distribution Confusion with Users; too many choices confuses the sheeple! couple that with the frothing at the mouth Linux Zealots and linux can be a turn off.

You can't escape the fact that distributions like Ubuntu,Fedora and Mint a child could install and use immediately.

No sir, Linux hasn't been fringe for years. I suggest you take the time to enlighten yourself and get up to date with your Linux knowledge and install Mint 16 Cinnamon or the latest Ubuntu in an Oracle Virtual Box container and see what you are missing.

RE: Linux
By Motoman on 5/20/2014 2:23:47 PM , Rating: 5
When did you last install Linux? Redhat 5? Not to sound rude but you don't know what you are talking about.

About a month ago, with fresh downloads of Mint. It worked a lot better than it used to, but it wasn't perfect. Not to sound rude, but I know *exactly* what I'm talking about.

Unlike you:

No sir, Linux hasn't been fringe for years

Umm...Linux is like 1.5% of all PCs worldwide. What the eff do you think constitutes "fringe" anyway?

RE: Linux
By Ammohunt on 5/20/2014 5:05:07 PM , Rating: 2
Fringe on the desktop I will give you but pretty much everywhere its important its pretty pervasive like in the Data Center and on Mobile Devices.

You comment of hardware support is kind of out there as well 99% percent of the time with a binary distro all my devices are recognized and configured that never happens with Windows.

There was a time when I would never consider running Linux in a production environment that expired 5-6 years ago.

RE: Linux
By Motoman on 5/20/2014 5:18:21 PM , Rating: 2
Usage in the data center is irrelevant to the discussion at hand because those systems' consoles are never seen by anyone other than IT staff.

Usage on "mobile devices" like Android phones is also irrelevant because firstly that has nothing to do with PCs, which was the topic at hand, and secondly because it's the OEM OS on those devices, and is unrecognizable to anyone who doesn't already know as a derivative of Linux.

It is an irrefutable fact that essentially all Linux desktop users are IT experts, and a tiny minority of them at that. And unless you can wave a magic wand and change the 2 issues I noted above, it's always going to be that way.

For my own part, after installing the latest Mint distro on a couple machines, and noting how much easier it was to install than in the past, and seeing the automatic updates happen and the "app store" kind of functionality, I thought "well that's nice." And after playing with them for a bit, I set them aside and went back to my regular Windows machine...because there's not any benefit to me, as an IT expert or as a regular user, to abandon Windows and switch to Linux. Or even keep one of those machines here on my KVM switch and flip back and forth...there's just no point.

RE: Linux
By ven1ger on 5/20/2014 5:56:33 PM , Rating: 2
It all boils down to marketing, Linux isn't marketed to the general public like MS does.

Generally speaking whether you're a PC user using Linux, or Windows, the only one that really looks at either systems are the tech geeks, IT people. The typical PC user won't even try to replace their hard drive and OS if the hd crashes. If a computer running Windows breaks down it's usually taken in to a computer repair person or you have a friend/relative who works with computer to look at it.

To install a Linux distro is definitely a whole lot easier than installing Windows for a lay person. But Linux, one has to seek it, while Windows is pushed on to you from a consumer point of view.

RE: Linux
By Ammohunt on 5/20/14, Rating: 0
RE: Linux
By Motoman on 5/20/2014 10:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
Anyway I respect your opinion even if it is mostly anecdotal and dated.


Translation: I hate you for living in the real world instead of capitulating to my dream of Linux being relevant.

Love the way you dismissed the irrefutably pertinent and relevant points I made simply because you refuse to acknowledge reality.

Keep your condescension to yourself.

RE: Linux
By wallijonn on 5/22/2014 1:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
there's not any benefit to me, as an IT expert or as a regular user, to abandon Windows and switch to Linux. Or even keep one of those machines here on my KVM switch and flip back and forth...there's just no point.

How about security?, as in doing on-line banking and on-line shopping?

I set up all my friends with Linux Live CDs and Live DVDs if they do on-line banking and on-line shopping.

There's probably less chance of installing key loggers, root kits, spyware, malware and viruses when one is running off a CD/DVD, no? Power down the PC and all the tracking cookies and data disappear into the ether.

RE: Linux
By mmarianbv on 5/21/2014 3:08:31 AM , Rating: 2
huge issues with network printers/scanners. misprints and slow speed scans (in the few cases when they work).
now i can print fine, 10 second later it will not print duplex. or at all.
from one computer i sent a 30kb document to print, other computer, same document, same program, same driver will sent 40 mb data to print locking the print for few minutes.
yeh cannon/hp/other could work to make their drivers better, but they pretty much ignore linux.

RE: Linux
By mjv.theory on 5/21/2014 4:47:17 AM , Rating: 2
Additionally, a Linux desktop distro could be fairly easily configured to look and work like XP, especially given the Chinese coding resources.

Also, Office365 is available on Android (which is basically a Linux distro) and iOS which is another unix derivative.

It likely won't be too long before Android is the most popular (as in most installed) OS in the world. I suspect that the Linux desktop revolution is still biding its time and that it will happen. Obviously, it China does go Linux, then that will accelerate a global acceptance.

RE: Linux
By mjv.theory on 5/21/2014 4:37:53 AM , Rating: 2
I have read elsewhere that such a plan may indeed be in hand.

RE: Linux
By delphinus100 on 5/21/2014 9:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I'm kind of astonished that China's government isn't just running everything on a bespoke version of Linux that they've created just for their own spyware-happy purposes.

Actually, I was under the impression that they pretty much already did... (2013) (2005)

By BRB29 on 5/20/2014 11:02:49 AM , Rating: 3
They're basically boycotting Win8 because of security reasons but WinXP is okay?

I think the real message is "We're going to take MS WinXP and make it our own"

They just saved themselves a bunch of money in developing an OS.

RE: Irony?
By inighthawki on 5/20/2014 11:23:04 AM , Rating: 5
They must mean that the activation code is too secure and they can't pirate it ;)

RE: Irony?
By momorere on 5/20/2014 11:31:36 AM , Rating: 1
Win 8 is just as easy to crack as any other Windows. I cracked it to try it out. I'm satisfied with it and will now purchase an OEM copy.

RE: Irony?
By inighthawki on 5/20/2014 11:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
Was just a joke...

RE: Irony?
By DiscoWade on 5/20/2014 12:12:20 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, because momorere said he was satisfied with Windows 8.

RE: Irony?
By inighthawki on 5/20/2014 1:11:46 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not sure how that's relevant.

stop doing business in China then
By ianweck on 5/20/2014 10:58:58 AM , Rating: 2
If piracy means they make less in China than they do in NL, it won't be a huge loss for them (I assume). Plus it might make China look bad if a major corporation decides enough is enough.

RE: stop doing business in China then
By bug77 on 5/20/2014 11:04:03 AM , Rating: 2
If they didn't make the move back in their heydays, they won't do it now, when pressured on all fronts (desktop, tablets, mobile, office).

RE: stop doing business in China then
By BRB29 on 5/20/2014 11:07:30 AM , Rating: 3
China is a tough sell for any software. Your best bet is just give it to them for free to sell hardware or ads. Chinese have been making knock-offs and pirating software for ages. Maybe they'll change with their new found economic prosperity. I highly doubt it will change any time soon.

By masamasa on 5/22/2014 12:50:33 AM , Rating: 2
Why on earth would the pay for it when they can simply steal it????

More and More Government
By bitmover461 on 5/20/14, Rating: -1
RE: More and More Government
By ianweck on 5/20/2014 11:25:03 AM , Rating: 2
what's this got to do with Microsoft and WinXP etc?

RE: More and More Government
By Nutzo on 5/20/2014 11:46:42 AM , Rating: 1
Read the story.
China has also stopped buying most hardware from the US due to the NSA hijacking shipments and installing spyware, hacked firmware, etc.

By AllYourBaseAreBelong2Us on 5/20/2014 1:37:48 PM , Rating: 5
It is just more BS from China Govt. All the hardware is made over there anyway.

RE: More and More Government
By JasonMick on 5/20/2014 1:13:40 PM , Rating: 4
... and you want to hand over health care to them. Nice!!!
I was with you up until here.

I am well in agreement that "Obamacare" is, at best and at worst a special interest payout meets deal with the devil. But it is certainly not making health care a government function any more so than EMTALA (aka "Reagancare" as it was signed into law by Reagan as part of the COBRA bill) was.

This is what bugs me about the Obamacare debate. Most believe it's a debate over public healthcare vs. private healthcare. It absolutely IS NOT THAT.

"Obamacare" is simply a deal between private healthcare providers and the government. The government offered insurers a large special interest payout in terms of medicare funding. In exchange the insurers willingly agreed to sell their product on exchanges, under which they won't deny you coverage for preexisting conditions, or price gouge you quite as bad.

The good news for consumers is that if you have a preexisting condition or are uninsured, it becomes cheaper and easier to buy insurance.

But the deal is not without problems.

First it relies on taxation of the middle class and increasing the national debt to pay out large sums to insurers to keep them from strongly resisting the coverage guarantee.

So things get better for a significant minority of Americans, but get worse for the majority who don't have serious preexisting conditions and/or already had insurance.

Further the plan does nothing to fix the incredibly inflated price of prescription drugs in the U.S. compared to other regions of comparable median wealth (e.g. Canada). And it does nothing to rather little to improve the very poor end outcomes of the U.S. medical system for basic services such as pregnancy and heart health. The U.S. trails its peers here, again.

Obamacare is not public healthcare.

That is a false debate.

Obamacare is a deal between the government and private sector in which the private sector agrees to regulation in exchange for compensation.

There's upsides and downsides, but overall for the average American it's a rather pointless debate, as it does very little to fix the underlying issues with America's broken healthcare system.

While it may make taxation and national debt worse, those costs were somewhat offset by the fact that under Reagancare the government set a system in place that would tax the masses (or accrue debt) to pay for the emergency treatment for the uninsured. Emergency care is typically the most expensive kind of care, so in theory the payouts to insurers under Obamacare may be offset by reduced payouts to hospitals under Reagancare.

The bottom line is that Obamacare does very little to harm and very little to help, other than slightly bumping the needle towards more special interest payouts, and on the flip side helping a small fraction of Americans who were previously denied coverage.

The way this is being presented though is a classic false flag debate.

Both parties want you to misunderstand Obamacare and debate based on that misunderstanding BECAUSE they're hoping you'll do that instead of focusing on the real issue of their joint commitment to runaway spending.

RE: More and More Government
By bitmover461 on 5/20/2014 1:20:01 PM , Rating: 2
Your logic is sound, except that you don't allow that Obamacare is a step towards single-payer, which is a step towards a 2-tier national health care system, such as England has. The fact is many supporting Obamacare thought they were getting something for nothing.

RE: More and More Government
By Reclaimer77 on 5/20/2014 2:10:33 PM , Rating: 3
Yup single payer is the goal. It's becoming more and more apparent that Obamacare was specifically designed to destroy private insurance in America. If nothing but for the simple fact that little to none of the private insurance companies will be able to stay afloat under this new system. They'll just go bankrupt.

On top of that, it's a GIGANTIC wealth redistribution scheme.

Jason is either mentally unhinged or on hardcore drugs. He can scream "Reagancare" (is that even a thing?) all he wants, but it wont change the facts.

RE: More and More Government
By JasonMick on 5/20/2014 3:03:14 PM , Rating: 3
Jason is either mentally unhinged or on hardcore drugs.
Maybe those drugs could ease the headache you give me. :)
He can scream "Reagancare" (is that even a thing?) all he wants
I'm not screaming.

You can deny all you want that the regulation that Reagan signed into law forced a free market in the medical space (hospitals) to provide a service (emergency services) in return for special interest compensation (medicare/medicaid money) a clear payout, albeit one that benefits some poverty level individuals and ostensibly reduces the number of deaths from lack of proper healthcare.

Read the law if you don't believe me, Reclaimer. It's online. I know you can read. So why don't you?

Once you've read that, consider what Obamacare is -- a law that forced a free market in the medical space (insurance providers) to provide a service (medical insurance) in return for special interest compensation (medicare/medicaid money) a clear payout, albeit one that benefits some poverty level individuals and ostensibly reduces the number of deaths from lack of proper healthcare.

Tell me how is that really so different other than the finer details of how each program is policed?

The only real difference I see is that Obamacare add a penalty for uninsured tax payers, perhaps making the regulation a bit more binding on the consumer side. Otherwise any sane person would see the parallels. Each law regulates a separate market within the healthcare space in exchange for taxpayer funded compensation doled out to the players in that market.
On top of that, it's a GIGANTIC wealth redistribution scheme.
Yea, and so is EMTALA (or Reagancare if you can tolerate the term). EMTALA pays the hospital bills of uninsured Americans with Medicaid money.

How much to those hospital bills cost? Hint: It starts with "a lot".

Who is paying them? Hint: It starts with "you".

What does that equate to? Hint: It starts with "GIGANTIC wealth redistribution"...

Obamacare certainly is wealth redistribution, but as emergency care and preventative care are to a degree interchangeable, it's more a reworking of the preexisting "GIGANTIC wealth distribution" scheme. I'm not argue that it may increase the payout somewhat.

But either way the government was taxing you and paying your money to pay for the uninsured for decades before Obamacare was passed.
Yup single payer is the goal. It's becoming more and more apparent that Obamacare was specifically designed to destroy private insurance in America. If nothing but for the simple fact that little to none of the private insurance companies will be able to stay afloat under this new system. They'll just go bankrupt.
I don't really see that as being true. The plans offered under Obamacare are generally relatively undesirable -- similar to those you'd receive as a blue collar employee. Any professional will want their workplace to buy them a better plan than that, with lower premiums and deductibles.

If the U.S. becomes a single payer system the blame will lie heavily on professionals for failing to demand proper compensation in terms of healthcare.

Again, I wouldn't want to be on Obamacare -- the rates are very poor compared to even my current insurance which isn't even the best plan I've had.

But my point is that either way, even if the U.S. was a single payer system where the government taxed you and you bought insurance from one of several insurers, it'd be a regulated private marketplace, not a public offering. The only way it'd be a public offering is if the government cut out the insurance middleman altogether and switched to a direct billing sort of system.

RE: More and More Government
By Reclaimer77 on 5/20/14, Rating: 0
RE: More and More Government
By JasonMick on 5/20/2014 5:51:09 PM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty sure that if this "Reagancare" mandated, under penalty, that every citizen purchase a commercial product (Insurance) we would have heard about it by now.

Reagancare was a tweak. Obamacare is a sledgehammer. Maybe that's the difference you don't seem willing to acknowledge.

Sure, you are drawing a parallel. I get that. But your strokes are SO broad, the parallel isn't very informative.
Ummm I think you failed to notice the part where billions of your taxpayer money were funneled to hospitals in medicaid funds under Reagancare.

How is that a "tweak"?

I see it as a special interest payout.

I already stated what you reiterated (correctly) that Obamacare mandates individuals to pay insurance or face a penalty. But the penalty is relatively small compared to the amount of tax money that's being spent to pay both insurers and hospitals.

My point is that there was already a LARGE special interest payout to hospitals (that perhaps you are unaware of) that grossly eclipses the small penalties paid under the new mandate. Obamacare's biggest action is to shift that large payout from the hospitals, partially, to the insurers, via cooperating with them in a kickback scheme to insure the uninsured.

Again the large special interest payout was there BEFORE Obamacare. But nobody seems to care, since it was Reagan.

If you don't believe me, go to the budget numbers and look at the Medicaid budgets. Literally billions are spent yearly on Reagancare. Emergency care for all of America's uninsured isn't cheap.

You were paying under Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush Jr. for EMTALA. Whether or not you were ignorant to those payouts is a moot point.

I think you're misunderstanding me somewhat. My point is that whether we keep Obamacare, or go back to the "old" system as Republicans want to do is a moot point, as either way billions will be spent in Medicaid payouts to cover America's uninsured or otherwise uninsured. The real solution is either to scrap Reagancare and Obamacare altogether, if you want to go that route, or otherwise adopt true public healthcare (which the current corrupt kickback system is not). Simply scrapping one -- Obamacare or Reagancare -- without scrapping the other will do very little as the funding will just shift from the insurers to the hospitals.

You'll still be paying either way.

At least bother to understand the problem you're trying to fix.

RE: More and More Government
By Reclaimer77 on 5/21/2014 12:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
Dude I grew up in the freaking 80's, and I never heard about this "Reagancare". Because it wasn't a thing, it didn't exist. You're the only one I ever heard call it that.

You ALWAYS do this. Come out of left field with some crazy BS in order to look objective.

So we cant criticize Obamacare without also referencing some 30+ year old obscure piece of legislation nobody even heard about?

Okay real sound talking point there! Congrats I guess? But I'm just tired of this Red Herring being used. Whenever Obamacare takes heat, there's some wacko quick to point out Romneycare, or that somehow it was the Heritage Foundations "idea", and now we have "Reagancare". As if those things are relevant, or somehow make Obamacare less of a freaking Socialist disaster.

But nobody seems to care, since it was Reagan.

This is the smartest thing you've said yet. You're damn right nobody cares about that. It's completely irrelevant! You're just engaging in finger pointing for the sake of it. I guess blaming Bush for everything got old, so now you people are going after Reagan. That's just brilliant lol.

Also Reagan was a god who could do no wrong. Just accept that and move on.

RE: More and More Government
By NellyFromMA on 5/20/2014 2:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't a false debate, its just being talked about incorrectly by people uninterested to get into the real details because the public-at-large is too fickle to hear the reality of things and/or inexperienced with the reality of the topic altogether.

Let someone from Massachusetts who has dealt with what Obamacare is based off tell you what it is, if I could:

Romney-care / Obamacare is a tax penalty for not participating in the highly flawed private sector, with private sector buy in due to larger market pool via force.

That's all. Your premiums will NOT go down. They will NOT flatten.

It's your forced participation in almost exactly the same market as previous existed, except the VERY TINY amount of leverage the consumer had in this purchase has been removed. Oh, but the trade off is everyone who didn't pay or overused before is now compensated for by the healthy.

Consumer choice was reduced from choice to enroll or choose your vendor to choose your vendor or pay your government for not paying the private sector.

The burden for the aging boomers and those who visit the ER but don't pay for insurance or their bills is being shifted to their children (generational theft) and conveniently as such the minimum requirement for what is acceptable healthcare and practice is boosted and paid for on the backs of the 20 and 30 somethings of today, probably on the hopes that they are too complacent to realize the poor deal they just were forced into.

It was a flawed system before, and its not being fixed now, it just pushes the problems onto another generation.

Whether you think that's a good idea or a bad one, well, I'd rather not debate. Let's just say, as an adult turning 29 today, I'm NOT a fan. And that's from experience.

The healthcare system was flawed before and it's flawed now and will be when Obamacare is in full effect. The problem with healthcare is that the sector as a whole has been protected from anti-trust violations for a long time and it has been easier for politicians to put the issue off until the sad current state of affairs.

Who knows what the right answer is, but the current implementation as pioneered by Romney and implemented by Obama isn't the fix. It's a bad compromise between two drastically different schools of thought that only politicians and insurance companies and the uninsured

RE: More and More Government
By NellyFromMA on 5/20/2014 2:37:49 PM , Rating: 2
... stood to gain from. Not sure why that last part cut off :/

RE: More and More Government
By mackx on 5/20/2014 5:07:55 PM , Rating: 2
and what the fuck does all this have to do with microsoft, china, XP and windows 8?

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