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5/20/2014
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China Rejects Windows 8 For Government Computers

A Chinese government procurement directive bans Windows 8 from new desktops, laptops, and tablets.

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Chinese authorities have banned the use of Windows 8 on computers purchased for government use, according to an announcement posted May 16 on the website of China's Central Government Procurement Center.

The energy-efficiency mandate requires that all desktop, laptop, and tablet PCs bought by state agencies come with an operating system other than Windows 8.

The state news agency Xinhua characterizes the decision as "a move to ensure computer security after the shutdown of Windows XP."

Microsoft asserts that ongoing use of Windows XP presents a security risk. "If you continue to use Windows XP now that support has ended, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses," the company says on its website.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in an email that it has been working with Chinese authorities to ensure that its products meet government requirements, and that it will continue to do so. "We are confident that Windows 8 meets all of these requirements, and we've seen a large number of customers around the world, including governments, embrace Windows 8 as a modern, secure operating system."

[Apple has zero share of the phablet market -- so far. Read Phablet Sales Surge: What Will Apple Do?]

More than 12 years after launching Windows XP, Microsoft ended support for its outdated operating system on April 8. The company no longer provides technical assistance or automatic updates for its old operating system software, outside of special contractual arrangements. Microsoft says that, to remain protected from security threats, customers should upgrade to Microsoft Windows 8.1.

About half the Chinese desktop market relies on Windows XP, the research firm Canalys said in February. The Windows 8 ban compounds the problems Microsoft has had getting businesses to adopt its latest operating system. "Windows 8 uptake remains weak and the PC refresh cycle shows no sign of returning," Canalys said.

(Source: Techinasia.com)
(Source: Techinasia.com)

Since then, the PC refresh cycle has improved. According to Canalys, the discontinuation of XP in April helped sustain demand for PC shipments as more replacement PCs were purchased.

However, first-quarter demand for notebooks and desktops in China during the fell 13% and 6%, respectively, from the same period last year, Canalys said. With tablets accounting for 50% of the PC market in 2014 and Windows 8 disallowed on government tablets and PCs, Microsoft faces magnified challenges in China.

Stephen Kleynhans, a research vice president with Gartner, doubts China's decision will have much impact on Microsoft outside of China. "The ban is only on government systems," he said in a phone interview. "But it is definitely something they have to address" to undo any negative perception among customers.

He said he found it odd that Chinese authorities chose to pick on the security and energy efficiency of Windows 8. "From a software standpoint, those are both areas where Windows 8 excels over previous versions of Windows. They seem like odd reasons for banning the product."

Kleynhans speculates that China's ban on Windows 8 on government computers might be a negotiating tactic to get Microsoft to extend support for Windows XP on a more affordable basis.

But given the level of mistrust between the governments of China and the US, it's also likely that many Chinese officials would prefer to see a homegrown, Linux-based operating system gain traction and eventually supplant Windows.

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
5/27/2014 | 1:04:14 PM
Buy? Really?
Like one of other commenters hinted at, did they actually "buy" any Win XP anyway? I don't think it is coincidence that is last Win o/s that didn't require activation. Otherwise they would move to Win 7 like other Win XP users. At least the ones that have converted anyway.

I'd say MS should do NSA a favor, let them run XP forever. Won't be tough to crack their computers and see who they are hacking/stealing from next.

As far as Linux use, can you really see the Chinese gov get behind something open source like that? Not likely.
HansE247
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HansE247,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/23/2014 | 4:30:23 PM
Ordinary distrust.
I think China is wise in not trusting Windows8, there may be a peep-hole to the Americans - essentially a security breach in the opposite direction.

I think by banning Windows8 in goverment, they let the population know not to use Window8 (or any MS product) thus opening the eyes for Linux and other O/S systems.

Linux, in the end, will win, I think - "Built by the perople, for the people" more along the Chinese culture.
VZHANG116
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VZHANG116,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/22/2014 | 1:16:09 AM
Reason is simplest
Remember Snowden? Nobody denies that Win8 is the safest OS now, but it has backdoor, just like before, just like Cisco stuff, with it the US will be a shooter and China will be a shoot, it's not even a risk at all, it's doomed.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
5/21/2014 | 7:15:45 PM
Re: Angry at MS
My thought too. I didn't realize petualnce was grounds for an entire government's technology policy.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2014 | 6:58:52 PM
Re: Not Really a Windows 8 Issue
If thats the case then why do they use windows at all??
Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
5/21/2014 | 6:14:22 PM
Not Really a Windows 8 Issue
Do the commenters REALLY think this is an issue with the Windows 8 design? It's government computers, remember. Do you think they trust ANY software made by a U.S. company at this point?
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2014 | 1:45:18 PM
Re: Angry at MS
That's funny. Windows 8.1 is so distasteful that the Chinese won't even bother to steal it. I thought that they were using some form of Linux that they developed themselves so that they could have complete control over it?
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2014 | 1:25:27 PM
Re: Angry at MS

@Daniel... At some point doesn't it become a cost issue for MS? They have to spend $$$ to support their OS's. How long do you keep an OS active? What MS is doing is nothing new. I think most software companies end support for older versions at some point. I think the big mistake MS made is with Vista. That was the one after XP and the reason people didn't jump off of XP, for good reason. Vista was terrible with its use of memory. I think that still is hurting them.

 

PaulS681
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50%
PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2014 | 1:17:06 PM
Re: Angry at MS
Asok... Not that bad means good. Calling Windows 8.1 a cell phone OS is very inacurate. I use Windows 8.1 to carry out my job and have no problem doing that. Have you ever tried windows 8.1?

 
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
5/21/2014 | 12:51:55 PM
Re: Angry at MS
One has to wonder just how much Microsoft is demanding from customers who want to have support contracts for Windows XP. 

Windows XP works. That's why organizations have stuck with it until now. And Windows 8 really isn't something from a user standpoint that is so revolutionary. I get the improve security and technology. But most people, the end users, don't care about that. They just want things to work and be easy to use. 
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