Chinese Government Bans Windows 8 for "Security Reasons"
May 20, 2014 10:29 AM
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. (
) over Windows support. Relations between the pair have
long been strained
accusations of rampant piracy
in the fast-growing Asian nation.
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.
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
U.S. National Security Agency
(NSA). Amid accusations that the NSA is
intercepting shipments of hardware and software from American companies
modifying them with spying features
, China is looking to avoid government use of hardware made in America.
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.
"This is about the Internet. Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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