China has issued a notice late last week that outrightly bans Microsoft’s Windows 8 on new government computers. State news agency Xinhua reported today that the move is to ensure that in future it isn’t left without security updates, following Microsoft’s ending of support for Windows XP.
Windows XP is widely used in China, with Xinhua pegging the operating system as having a 70 percent market share in the country. Microsoft has said it will continue to update its security products for XP until July 14, 2015, but that users will be regularly warned that the operating system itself is no longer secure.
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It seems like the Chinese government doesn’t feel comfortable that the security of its computers lies in the hands of a foreign company which can end support as and when it wishes — though to be fair, Windows XP had a long run. The government, however, is likely afraid that it will face similar security issues with Windows 8 in the future when Microsoft decides to cease support for it one day.
Xinhua reports that China will instead turn its attention to developing its own OS based on Linux.
This will no doubt be a blow to Microsoft, even though it only affects government computers, as the company thrives on business from enterprises and has been increasing its focus on China. Last month saw the full launch of Microsoft’s Office 365 in the country, which followed general availability of its Azure cloud computing platform and the introduction of a new localized version of Skype.
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