No Vista for 2008 Beijing Olympics

Latest version of Windows will not be used, as it was not available when the list of computer hardware for the sporting event was fixed three years ago.

BEIJING--The IT systems supporting the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, will not be using Windows Vista, Microsoft's latest operating system.

Instead, the computing hardware will run on Windows XP, according to Xie Long, director of Olympic sponsorship for Lenovo's Olympic Business Department. Lenovo will sponsor computer equipment including desktops, notebooks and servers for the mega sporting event, which will be held in August next year.

Speaking to reporters at a briefing held here Tuesday, Xie explained that the list of computing equipment for the Beijing Olympics was finalized almost three years ago, when "Vista was not even born".

Xie added that Lenovo began providing the hardware to the BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad) two and a half years ago--"even before the Turino Games". Lenovo was the computer hardware sponsor for the 2006 Winter Olympics held in the Italian city of Turin.

According to Xie, computer equipment used for the mega sporting event has to be mature and reliable technology, and a list of equipment would typically be drawn up and fixed first, after which the equipment would undergo repeated tests.

Before the computer equipment is actually used at the Olympic Games in 2008, the systems have to undergo about three years of simulation tests at the Olympics Integration Test Lab, as well as tests at actual sports competitions, according to Xie.

Lenovo's participation in the 2006 Winter Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics is part of the company's efforts to build its brand worldwide.

The Chinese PC maker has some 30 people working on the mega sporting event, which will see a range of products in use including printers and storage equipment, 300 servers, 800 desktops and monitors and 70 notebooks.

Also behind the technology scene is IT services provider Atos Origin, which will design, build and operate the IT infrastructure for the Beijing Olympics. In January this year, the company launched a facility dedicated to testing the IT infrastructure, including IT security systems and software applications for the games.

Lynn Tan of ZDNet Asia reported from Beijing, China.