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Microsoft announces extended Windows XP support in China -- or has it?

Woody Leonhard | March 4, 2014
Reports that Microsoft will support Windows XP in China after April 8 have been disputed by Microsoft

Early this morning, Michael Kan reported from Beijing that Windows XP will continue receiving security support in China after the April 8 cutoff date. Kan's analysis stemmed from an official Microsoft post, in Chinese, on Sina Weibo, the Chinese analog to both Facebook and Twitter. That's tremendous news for Windows XP users everywhere — especially for those using Chinese-language versions of Windows XP.

Hours later, Larry Seltzer at ZDNet posted a story, "Microsoft denies extending Windows XP support for China," in which he says:

On Monday, Microsoft China made statements on a Chinese social network that have been misinterpreted in reports in the West. Microsoft in Redmond told ZDNet that they are not extending support for Windows XP in China.

Since Windows XP usage has been increasing worldwide over the past two months — it's now up to about one-third of all Windows computers measured by Net Applications —the briefly-welcomed news from Beijing held out some hope for Microsoft's hundreds of millions of XP customers.

I asked Kan about Microsoft's apparent (and welcome!) change of heart. He provided me with this translation of the official Microsoft announcement:

We thank all the people who have been paying attention to Microsoft XP's retirement. In response to everyone's questions, we have worked out four points we would like to explain:

Firstly, already installed PC's with XP can still be used after April 8.

Secondly, Microsoft China has adopted some special measures and is partnering with Tencent and leading domestic Internet security and virus prevention vendors to offer exclusive secure protection for Windows XP users in China, before they decide to eventually upgrade to the new generation of operating systems.

Thirdly, data shows that 70 percent of China's XP users in the last 13 years have not chosen to use Microsoft's periodic security service updates. For most of the users, XP's retirement will have a limited impact. In spite of this, Microsoft and several domestic vendors will soon release a series of security measures, and offer continued protection to these users, before they eventually decide to upgrade to a new OS.

Fourthly, this 13-year-old product already cannot satisfy the demands of the Internet age, and is not enough to address the endless number and ever changing security threats. The level of security of the new generation of operating system, under today's Internet environment, has been improved significantly.

We thank everyone for always loving XP and never abandoning it. Its always hard to say goodbye, but after a long journey one must eventually bid adieu. Before people decide to upgrade to the new generation of operating system, we, Tencent and the domestic leading Internet security vendors, will continue never letting you go, and take care of you.


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