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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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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.


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