China bans government purchases of Windows 8, surprising Microsoft

Microsoft is still selling Windows 7 to Chinese government offices

China is banning Windows 8 devices from at least some government IT purchases, in a mysterious move that took Microsoft off guard.

The ban came from China's Central Government Procurement Center, which posted a brief notice last Friday on new requirements for government tenders. Among the demands is that Windows 8 be excluded from the bidding process on computer purchases.

It's unclear how far-reaching the ban will be. The agency could not be reached Tuesday and the new requirements only concern government purchases for "energy-efficient" IT products, including notebooks, desktops and tablets.

China's state-controlled Xinhua News Agency, however, was more forceful and said that the government was forbidding the use of Windows 8 after Microsoft recently ended official support for Windows XP. "The Chinese government obviously cannot ignore the risks of running OS without guaranteed technical support," the Tuesday report said.

Chinese officials have previously stressed that Microsoft should lower the price of Windows. They've also said to local press that the nation should develop its own homegrown OS to reduce its reliance on foreign companies.

But the Chinese government has still been a major Microsoft customer. In past years, the nation has been working to purchase licensed software for use in government offices and move away from bootleg copies.

Microsoft said Tuesday that it was surprised to see Windows 8 referenced in the Chinese government notice. But the company added that it was working to ensure all its software meets government procurement requirements.

"We have been and will continue to provide Windows 7 to government customers," the company said in an email. "At the same time we are working on the Window 8 evaluation with relevant government agencies."

Windows 8 usage is still low in China, with less than 2 percent market share, according to Internet analytics site The OS was built for touchscreens, but some have complained that Windows 8 offers a convoluted interface that mashes together tablet and PC uses.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationMicrosoftsecuritygovernment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?