The Chinese government is hanging on to Windows XP and choosing instead to deploy security products built specifically to protect the Microsoft OS.
Support for Win XP ended on April 8with Microsoft no longer providing security updates for the 12-year-old platform, leaving government agencies in China on their own to resolve any potential issues. The OS remains a widely used one in the country, where an estimated 70 percent of personal computers, or some 200 million systems, are still running Win XP.
"Security problems could arise because of a lack of technical support after Microsoft stopped providing services, making computers with XP vulnerable to hackers," Yan Xiaohong, deputy director at National Copyright Administration, said in a report by Xinhua News Agency. Speaking to local reporters, he noted that upgrading to Windows 8.1 was not a viable option.
"Windows 8 is fairly expensive and will increase government procurement costs," Yan said. The official revealed that relevant agencies were discussing with Microsoft about the issue.
According to the report, Windows 8 is priced at 888 yuan (US$143.75) in China. It added that since launching the country's anti-piracy campaign in 2010, the Chinese government had spent hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring legitimate software.
By end-2013, all government agencies had been audited and were no longer using pirated software, Yan said, adding that anti-piracy efforts were further extended to large state-owned organizations.
The government is currently assessing security products designed specifically to support Win XP and planned to promote the use of these offerings to ensure user data remained protected, Yan said.
Several Chinese tech giants including Tencent, Kingsoft, and Sogou, in February said they would offer technical aid related to Win XP system upgrades and security features, following the end of Microsoft's support.