China bans government use of Windows 8 computers

20 May 2014

Unwelcome news for Microsoft: China has banned State usage of the software giant’s latest operating system Windows 8 ostensibly due to a directive on energy saving products.

It is not clear, however, if this is a move in response to the US Justice Department indicting five Chinese military officers for allegedly stealing data from six US companies.

This is the first time that the US has formally accused officials from China of involvement in the theft of trade secrets.

It comes on the heels of allegations emerging from former CIA contractor Edward Snowden that US intelligence agencies deliberately tampered with US communications equipment leaving the States in order to install spy equipment, a revelation that has horrified major US manufacturers, such as Cisco.

For Microsoft, China has always been a difficult region to target in terms of sales margins but also in terms of piracy and counterfeiting issues.

China’s Central Government Procurement Centre issued the ban on installing Windows 8 computers as part of a notice on the usage of energy-saving products.

However, official news agency Xinhua said the ban was about ensuring computer security after Microsoft ended support for Windows XP, which is widely used in China.

Forbidden City image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years