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China says an emphatic 'no' to Windows 8 as it looks to Linux instead

Bans Microsoft's flagship OS from its government systems
Tue May 20 2014, 15:58

CHINA HAS BANNED Windows 8 from all government systems, Chinese news agency Xinhua confirmed today.

Microsoft's flagship operating system must be removed and replaced in the few instances where it exists, after China's Central Government Procurement Centre made the announcement last week.

The ruling comes as part of guidelines on environmental responsibility in technology, and has been sparked by security fears over the end of support for Windows XP.

The Chinese government has never been big on explanations, so we don't know for sure what banning Windows 8 does for either the environment or the plague of Windows XP machines still dominating Chinese government.

Although Windows piracy is said to be rife in the country, government departments have been forbidden to use unlicensed software, and assuming that China has been as good as its word, Windows XP support is being handled separately, making this turn of events a bit of a head-scratcher.

One theory is that China is future-proofing its systems from ever having to mop-up another Microsoft software end of life debacle like Windows XP, and like a lovesick teen has vowed never to get involved again in the first place. Xinhua has also confirmed that the Chinese government is working on its own Linux distribution, a solution that worked in North Korea.

Although there is no outright ban on Windows 8 outside the government, with many people experiencing Windows primarily through their workplace terminals, the alienation faced by many users worldwide to the changes brought by the radically different Windows 8 user interface might be even more acutely felt in China, possibly hurting legitimate home sales.

Windows 8 continues to struggle worldwide, with its market share considerably lower than the company had hoped despite a significant update to bring it more into line with its predecessors. During April, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 had a combined market share of just 11 percent, far less than their predecessor Windows 7, which held steady at 49 percent. µ


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