Support for Windows XP officially ends on 8 April 2014, including all security updates. That’s bad news for China, where as of September about 54% of the population still uses the 12-year-old operating system.
Furthermore, Micorsoft has stopped selling basic versions of the second-most popular operating system in China, Windows 7, which has 38% market share.
In response, the State Copyright Bureau of China’s government says Microsoft is putting users at risk of serious security threats, according to Techweb. It has prodded Microsoft for longer support of Windows XP and to continue sales of Windows 7. The Bureau representative says an upgrade to Windows 8 would cause a substantial increase in costs both for the OS and relevant software. Windows 8 accounts for less than three percent of the Chinese market.
It’s not just the average citizen using soon-to-be-deprecated software. Many government departments still work almost entirely on Windows XP. Part of the Bureau’s argument is that they paid for the software, so Microsoft is obligated to keep it up to date and safe in return for not using pirated versions. Several government departments earlier this year dispatched inspection teams to verify they were using genuine Microsoft software.
The request, of course, goes against the interests of Microsoft, which wants to push users to buy new PCs with Windows 8. Is Microsoft at fault here for ignoring the massive population that still uses Windows XP, or are Chinese users just behind the times? Either way, China has about five months to figure out a solution.