China and Google have never really gotten along, and now it looks like the country is adding Microsoft to its list of unfriendly tech giants. An official notice released from the Chinese government last week bans the Redmond company’s Windows 8 OS from being installed on any new government computers. The reason? Microsoft’s decision to pull support for Windows XP earlier this year.
Windows XP still runs on approximately 70 percent of all computers in China, and the news that Microsoft’s popular OS is no longer secure poses a serious threat to the country. The government clearly isn’t willing to risk the same thing happening with Windows 8 down the road, and will instead develop its own Linux-based OS for use on government computers. Considering the tense situation between China and the U.S. in regards to spying allegations, however, China may just be worried the machines will gain unwanted access to its government systems.
China’s decision is definitely bit pre-mature, especially after Microsoft promised to update its security products for Windows XP through July 2015. The Chinese government likely could have cut a deal similar to the U.S. IRS, which will pay millions of dollars for continued Windows XP support from Microsoft as it makes to transition to a newer OS. The announcement is also a huge blow to Microsoft, which once dominated the desktop OS market but is steadily losing ground to Apple’s OS X and even Google’s Chrome OS.