Windows 8 has been ousted by the Chinese government, tripped up out of the gate by the end of support for Windows XP. XP makes up 50 percent of China’s desktop market, and the lack of support appears to have insulted the country. They want nothing to do with the new operating system, and are pressuring Microsoft to extend support of the beloved XP.
Desiring time to acclimatize to new changes, Beijing has asked Microsoft to continue sales of the affordable Windows 7. Apparently the tech changes are moving too swiftly for the comfort zone of the Chinese government. Big enough to hold sway over market behavior, their opinion is being seriously considered. It would not be a difficult compromise since paid private support for Windows XP is available through Redmond. However this support is expensive, and the Chinese see the investment they have made in Microsoft substantial enough to deserve special treatment. The choice Microsoft makes will determine not only their future in China, but how other governments and powerful companies relate with them, so a lot is riding on their decision.
Tripped up by changes to the Windows 8 interface straight out of the gate, many consumers around the world with no clout to negotiate with Microsoft simply must hold on and learn. Considering the speed at which Americans are used to picking up new technologies, it is quaint to hear a voice from across the waters. “Hold on there for a moment!” cries China to the high-pressure expensive changes. Some Americans may feel the same, but have become flexible to the many IT fluxes and quietly upgrade. Many people feel that Windows XP is one of the best operating systems ever made and do not appreciate constant refinement towards greater profits, feeling that if it is not broken there is no need to upgrade it. Clearly the Chinese feel this way, and seeing what compromise arises from this dispute will shed much light on driving market forces.
In typical face-saving style, the Chinese government is not simply saying “Can Microsoft slow down a bit for us?” They claim the ban is to ensure computer security, and promote energy-saving products. Considering that Windows 8 has much better energy-saving and security features their reasoning is a bit transparent. One of the greatest upgrades is the integration of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). This allows the hardware to be protected from malware as the computer boots up. This was a former vulnerability that has now been covered, and it is nice to see the efficiency with which technology approaches problems.
Another reason for this difficult transition is Microsoft refusing to sell Windows 8 in box form, and only passing it through online downloads or on a new device. This is in an attempt to combat piracy, but is making it less accessible for the Chinese. It was remarked that in 2011 Microsoft earned less revenue in China than in the Netherlands due to piracy. 2012 was a busy year for Microsoft combating piracy. The company settled 3,265 cases of piracy, yet only 35 were located in the U.S. Out of this debacle over 100 fake apps made it into the Windows Store. The success of Microsoft has attracted many tricksters, and tech whizzes are on the hunt to squash them. Windows 8 has had a lackluster start out of the gate, and the clash with the Chinese government is the latest snag to trip up the tech giant.
By Grace Pollari