Date
23 September 2017
Beijing's move not to use Windows 8 may be adopted by local government units and state-owned enterprises. Photo: Microsoft Corp.
Beijing's move not to use Windows 8 may be adopted by local government units and state-owned enterprises. Photo: Microsoft Corp.

China bans Windows 8, supports Linux

The Chinese government has decided not to use Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8 operating system in all its computers as it moves to tighten the security of its information, Sina.com reported on Wednesday.

Beijing is supporting the free and open Linux system instead.

According to a statement released by the Central Government Procurement Center on May 16, the Windows 8 operating system will not be allowed in all information technology products used by government agencies. The statement, issued as a complementary requirement for the procurement of IT products, provides no explanation for the decision.

The order came amid reports that Microsoft may abandon Windows 8 earlier that it planned because of poor market reception. It also came after US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden accused Microsoft and several other US technology firms of colluding with the NSA to gain access into individuals’ private communications and data.

“It is reasonable for the country not to use Windows 8 as it is quite hard to control and using it may raise the risk of being monitored,” Ni Guangnan, a computer expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, was quoted as saying.

Zhang Feng, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, revealed earlier that the government will boost efforts to support research and development of the Linux operating system, Metro Daily reported Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s China office said it is very surprised by the government’s decision on Windows 8, noting that the company has been working closely with the government and its procurement center in evaluating IT products and fulfilling all government requirements, Sina said.

“We will continue to provide the government with products with the Windows 7 operating system and at the same time, we will proactively work with the government to evaluate the Windows 8 OS,” the report said, citing a Microsoft statement.

Economic Daily News said Beijing’s decision not to use Windows 8 may be adopted by local government units and state-owned enterprises, possibly affecting Microsoft’s business development in China.

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AM/JP/CG

Ayishah Ma is a financial reporter on Greater China issues.

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