China has banned the use of Windows 8 on new government computers, citing concerns around support ending for Windows XP and the ongoing project to build its own OS as justification for the block. Although Windows XP is thirteen years old, it's still the dominant platform on Chinese PCs; however, the Central Government Procurement Center is seemingly concerned about buying into Windows 8 and Microsoft then ending support for that down the line.
According to local media, Windows XP has around a 70-percent market share in China.
The block on Windows 8 will only affect government computers, not those owned by general consumers. Still, given the scale of the buying power the Chinese government has, it's a considerable - and unexpected - blow to Microsoft's ambitions in the country.
Meanwhile, China will continue developing its own platform, a homegrown OS based on Linux. That, according to government officials, will present less of a risk of going unsupported by foreign developers.
According to Microsoft, the ban was unexpected, with the company saying that it had been working with the Chinese government on ensuring Windows 8 met the country's requirements for official use.
Yesterday, the US Justice Department indicted several Chinese military officials for acts of cyber-espionage against American companies. According to the allegations, the group purposefully attempted to hack into systems used by energy-related firms, in the hope of stealing secrets that could be used by Chinese firms.