China has announced that it has banned all government computers from using Microsoft Windows 8 operating system, citing future security concerns as reason.
The Central Government Procurement Center has dealt Microsoft a massive blow by stating that all desktops, laptops and tablets must be installed with OS other than Windows 8.
The announcement, with no explanation for the ban on Windows 8 in public sector machines, is a part of the notice on the use of energy-saving products, posted on its website last week.
“All computer products are not allowed to install Windows 8 operating system,” read the note.
The official Xinhua news agency claimed the move to be precautionary step as China wants to prevent another future support debacle to deal with.
According to the statement, the government is trying to “avoid the awkwardness of being confronted with a similar situation again in future if it continues to purchase computers with [a] foreign OS.”
Microsoft’s 13-year-old Windows XP platform, which received its last security update last month, still dominates the market in China at 70 percent, leaving XP users vulnerable to viruses and hackers. China is likely afraid that it will have to face similar security support issues with Windows 8 when Microsoft decides to cease support for the operating system one day.
Xinhua also notes that the Chinese government is instead turning its attention to develop and use its own Linux-based OS, similar to its efforts for Linux-based China Operating System (COS) for smartphones launched in January.
Qi Xiangdong, president of Chinese antivirus and software vendor Qihoo 360, said that “the first step is to promote the use of Chinese-designed OS among official users, while their popularity among civilian users will be subject to market forces.”