Microsoft has been dealt a huge blow today, with the announcement that the Chinese government has chosen to ban Windows 8 from its inhouse computers. The Central Government Procurement Center issued the ban based on using energy-saving products, something it announced on its website last week. The official Xinhua news agency said the ban was there to protect computer security following Microsoft's withdrawal of support for Windows XP, which is still heavily used in China.
"We were surprised to learn about the reference to Windows 8 in this notice," said Microsoft, whose sales have always struggled in China. "Microsoft has been working proactively with the Central Government Procurement Center and other government agencies through the evaluation process to ensure that our products and services meet all government procurement requirements."
Microsoft ended support for Windows XP last month, which has left XP users vulnerable to viruses and hacking. The company has urged users to upgrade to newer, more secure versions of Windows, especially Windows 8. "China's decision to ban Windows 8 from public procurement hampers Microsoft's push of the OS to replace XP, which makes up 50 percent of China's desktop market," said data firm Canalys.
Neither the government nor Xinhua explained how the bans would aid energy-saving initiatives or ensure security, it has been noted.