Come April 8, Microsoft Corp. will no longer provide security support for its much loved Windows XP operating system.
In markets like Canada and the United States, Microsoft is urging users to replace XP with its newer operating system, Windows 8.1. However, there’s one country the American software giant is making an exception to this global retirement.
Microsoft has partnered with Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site, to keep the 12-year-old XP alive in China.
Web analytics firm Net Applications estimates that 37.2 per cent of the world’s personal computers (roughly 570 million machines) still run on XP.
While users in most countries have been gradually phasing out XP for some years now, China commands the monopoly on XP deployments with 72.1 per cent of the country’s computers – that three for every four machines – still running the soon-to-be-retired OS.
Software piracy is among the reasons why XP remains very popular in China. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has been trying to get local businesses and consumers to buy official copies of its software, but high prices continue to be a major turnoff for users.
Many Chinese security vendors are also profiting from Microsoft’s decision to retire XP because its gives them the opportunity to market their security products.
It’s still unclear how Microsoft and Sina Weibo will deliver security support to XP users in China.