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Print 21 comment(s) - last by sprockkets.. on Jun 9 at 11:44 AM

Microblog post contradicts claims by China's state-run media

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and China have long had a rocky relationship over accusations of piracy.  With U.S. and Chinese relations deterioriating in the wake of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal and the Obama administration's decision last month to throw fuel on the fire by charging Chinese military officers in China with cyberspying, Microsoft is among the companies accused by Chinese officials as conspiring with U.S. spying.  China has banned Windows 8 from government computers and advised Chinese citizens and businesses to drop Microsoft's latest operating system.

The spat between Microsoft and China is also fueled in part by the testy debate over Windows XP.  In April, Microsoft ended support for most SKUs of the 13-year-old operating system, much to the chagrin of the Chinese government.  Currently, roughly 50 percent of Chinese computers run Windows XP, well above the global consumer average of about 25 percent.  

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

China wanted Microsoft to offer Chinese customers free ongoing support for Windows XP.  Microsoft refused, saying that roughly 9 in 10 Windows XP users (indicating a whopping 45 percent of total Chinese users) are running pirated copies of the operating system.

Microsoft this week took to social media to try to appeal to the Chinese people and reassure them that it was fighting attempts to spy on them.  The company wrote on its Chinese account on local Chinese-language microblogging service Weibo [translated via Neowin]:
  1. Microsoft has never assisted any government in an attack of another government or clients.
  2. Microsoft has never provided any government the authority to directly visit our products or services.
  3. Microsoft has never provided any so-called "Backdoor" into its products or services.
  4. Microsoft has never provided the data or info of our clients to the U.S. Govt. or National Security Agency.
  5. Microsoft has never concealed any requests from any government for information about its client
Only roughly 5 percent of Microsoft's revenue comes from China according to a 2011 statement by then CEO Steve Ballmer -- a shockingly low number for the world's largest electronics marketplace.  China's $9B USD market in pirated software, though, make dealing with that massive market a headache, even before you toss in spying concerns.

Sources: Microsoft [Weibo], Neowin



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Uh huh
By shabby on 6/6/2014 7:05:23 PM , Rating: 5
Just like the nsa never collected anything on its citizens...




RE: Uh huh
By Murloc on 6/7/2014 5:43:03 AM , Rating: 2
the NSA collected data by messing with the infrastructure directly.
That's out of the consumer tech companies' control.


RE: Uh huh
By hughlle on 6/7/2014 6:42:40 AM , Rating: 1
It is nothing to do with how it was done, it was the fact that it was done yet was denied.


RE: Uh huh
By Manch on 6/7/2014 9:49:06 AM , Rating: 2
so what does that have to do with MS?


RE: Uh huh
By Jeffk464 on 6/8/2014 10:03:49 AM , Rating: 2
eh, windows 7 is better anyways.


something strange
By dgingerich on 6/7/2014 10:15:28 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
1. Microsoft has never assisted any government in an attack of another government or clients.
2. Microsoft has never provided any government the authority to directly visit our products or services.
3. Microsoft has never provided any so-called "Backdoor" into its products or services.
4. Microsoft has never provided the data or info of our clients to the U.S. Govt. or National Security Agency.
5. Microsoft has never concealed any requests from any government for information about its client


Did anyone notice the difference in #4? All the others say "any government" while #4 states "U.S. Govt. or National Security Agency" specifically. That implies that they "provided the data or info of our clients" to someone else. I wonder who.




RE: something strange
By milktea on 6/7/2014 11:27:09 AM , Rating: 3
good find,

but it probably means the marketing data, for targeted ads and searches, maybe?

but you never know who's actually receiving those marketing data, could be NSA in disguise that even MS doesn't know about
;)


RE: something strange
By Gondor on 6/7/2014 1:03:32 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
That implies that they "provided the data or info of our clients" to someone else. I wonder who.


Other companies (and agencies), evidently. Care to guess who these "other companies" forwarded that data to in the following step?


RE: something strange
By bug77 on 6/8/2014 9:58:08 AM , Rating: 2
Chinese government? Remember in China you have to identify yourself to connect from an Internet cafe.
Anyway, this is pointless, you can't address to someone who's not listening. If the Chinese government told their people that the Earth is flat, Stephen Hawing couldn't convince them otherwise if he flew then all to the ISS to see for themselves.


haha
By chromal on 6/7/2014 12:52:09 AM , Rating: 4
Lies! MS won't even convince me they didn't help the US GVT spy on me.




RE: haha
By Piiman on 6/7/2014 9:27:19 AM , Rating: 3
How bad is it when you have to convince the Chinese people that we aren't spying on them?


9 out of 10?! and they want what?!
By Manch on 6/7/2014 9:48:24 AM , Rating: 2
If I was MS I tell them to go Eff themselves to! Free supt when 90% of your people are using pirated copies! If I was MS, I would actively go out of my way to render their machines useless.

MS to China "OK, we will provide you with updates. Here's the newest Service Pack."

MS to NSA "Here's the keys. Go nuts."




RE: 9 out of 10?! and they want what?!
By 1prophet on 6/7/2014 10:56:22 PM , Rating: 2
But they won't,

Microsoft like many other companies sold their corporate soul to China in the name of profits, and now the Chinese are in a position to play the hand that these companies blinded by greed have handed them.

Cry me a river, play the violin, but there is no denying the fact these same companies who tell us Americans are too expensive, regulations to harsh, etc. can now go lie in the bed they made in China.


By Manch on 6/8/2014 8:53:32 AM , Rating: 2
It's not like MS has a huge manufacturing base there. China is 5% of it's revenue. They can afford to kick them to the curb


Two key points
By masamasa on 6/6/2014 7:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
1. Just about every Windows license in China is a copy of the OS that has been heavily modified.

2. Microsoft must ne desperate to get into new market since they are failing miserably on mobility, search and so forth ever since they stopped listening to their customers.

Best of luck with that market.




RE: Two key points
By masamasa on 6/6/2014 7:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe they can sue for IP infringement to generate some revenue! Quickly followed by the ever so predictable response, "No idea what you are talking about - you stole Windows design from us!"


A message to the feds
By phatboye on 6/8/2014 11:21:31 AM , Rating: 4
I really hope this message hits home with the US federal government and the US NSA that spying on its citizens will hurt American businesses and destroy trust in American companies. They really need to understand that this needs to stop now.




By CharonPDX on 6/8/2014 2:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
Is Microsoft helping *THEM* spy on their citizens? (By complying with Chinese government data requests.)




Funny
By Shades on 6/8/2014 3:16:32 AM , Rating: 2
The Chinese wanted a FREE extension of support for a fundamentally flawed, 13 year old OS? LOL, the gall of some people.




Alternatives and Updates.
By drycrust3 on 6/8/2014 4:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
China has banned Windows 8 from government computers and advised Chinese citizens and businesses to drop Microsoft's latest operating system.

So the question becomes what are the alternatives?
One option is to just continue using Windows XP. Strange as it sounds, this is probably an option that needs to be considered. End of life support by Microsoft has little meaning to the average pirated XP user because they weren't getting any support anyway, so I am guessing this is the option the Chinese government is hoping people will opt for.
Another option is a Linux Distribution. I did use Linux Deepin for a number of years, which is a Chinese OS based on Ubuntu, and it worked reasonably well.
Just as the arguments about which smartphone to use often comes down to which apps you need to use on your smartphone, so the arguments about which OS to run come down to what programs you want to run on you PC, and that is where the problem lies. One example is there isn't any Microsoft Word version for Ubuntu, so consequently there isn't one for Linux Deepin either. Yes, there are Linux alternatives to Microsoft Word, such as LibreOffice Writer and AbiWord, and probably various cloud writers as well, but just as translation between English and Chinese isn't always accurate, so translation between Word and the alternatives isn't always accurate either.
I think one point that might be behind the Chinese government decision is when do the patents on Microsoft XP and Microsoft Office expire? It could well be in the foreseeable future, e.g. next year, in which case there will be a whole lot of updates to Linux and Cloud based writers to include the expired patented features of Microsoft Word.
By avoiding Windows 8 one also avoids being trapped with the updated versions of Microsoft Word as well.




Word weasels
By sprockkets on 6/9/2014 11:44:33 AM , Rating: 2
You know, Microsoft says that they don't scan the contents of your email to provide ads.

I'm going to say that again, this time with emphasis:

Microsoft says that they don't scan the contents of your email to provide ads.

That's because Microsoft, not on their website but via a PR rep for a website, says they scan the subjects of your emails for ads on your email list.

But they are counting on you to not notice that while trying to make Google look bad.

That's sneaky Microsoft.




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