The Chinese government has made the decision to stick with Windows even though the operating system has reached end-of-life. Senior official Yan Xiaohong commented that upgrading to Windows 8 would be “fairly expensive.” Windows 8 costs 888 yuan (£84 or $142) in China. However in some cases the government would have to buy new hardware to upgrade to Windows 8.
China is not paying Microsoft for extended Windows XP support. Instead, Chinese security providers have released special protection products to patch up the system, which the government is now “appraising” for use.
It is estimated that nearly 70% of computers in China are still using Windows XP. IE6 usage in China remains well over 20%, while the rest of the world remains under 1%. It is believed that 90% of Windows XP usage in China comes from pirated copies of the operating system. However, since a crackdown in 2010 most government agencies are using genuine copies of Microsoft software. The government has also been pressuring state-owned enterprises to embrace legitimate software.
There is some speculation that Chinese government software intended to monitor citizens is currently dependent on Windows XP and is a major factor in China’s hesitation to move off Windows XP at this point in time. This might be a good time for China to consult with the NSA.