back to article Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support

The Chinese government has urged Microsoft to extend support for Windows XP in order to boost Beijing’s anti-piracy efforts and head off a potentially huge security threat. Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of China’s National Copyright Administration, met Microsoft and other software companies in a bid to put some pressure on, …

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  1. Turtle

    Unusual Case.

    "Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support"

    Well now here's a case where I'm the side of the Chinese government!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unusual Case.

      ""Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support""

      But extended Windows XP support is already available. You just have to pay lots for it, and the cost doubles each year...

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Unusual Case.

        >But extended Windows XP support is already available. You just have to pay lots for it, and the cost doubles each year...

        Do not under estimate the Chinese in negotiations, expect them to cut a deal, which MS will be able to claim their expansion of MS China (to support XP) as an investment in the Chinese market, with very little real monies actually being transferred from Beijing to Seattle.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Joe User

            Re: Unusual Case.

            Linux is older than XP and no one would call it prehistoric.

            But Linux isn't a decrepit pile of code like XP.

            1. xenny

              Re: Unusual Case.

              Given how many security vulnerabilities XP, 7 and 8 have had in common, calling XP a decrepit pile of old code is also a comment on 7 and 8.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Unusual Case.

                But remember this has been proven of Linux as well, with 10 year old plus bugs popping up....

          2. M Gale

            Re: Unusual Case.

            Linux is older than XP and no one would call it prehistoric.

            That's because unless you're running Kernel v2.2 or something, it isn't.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Unusual Case.

              "Linux is older than XP and no one would call it prehistoric."

              A monolithic kernel is pretty dated these days.....A poor security model.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unusual Case.

      It's ironic that China originates a large portion of the security attacks onthe West, targetting XP vulnerabilities.

      By extending XP support, they help keep the Western businesses and households running XP for longer too, maintaining their lucrative hack targets.

      PE1: > no conspiracy mode <return>

      1. Fletchulence

        Re: China originates a large portion of the security attacks onthe West

        Really? Or is it the vast swathes of compromised machines in the PRC controlled by script kiddies over here in the West?

        If they really still have that many machines on XP, there is a legitimate argument for asking MS to extend support. The more compromised machines over there, the bigger the DOSnets, the worse for the West.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They only thing they haven't copied yet is YOU.

    But that no doubt will come.

    1. Pirate Dave
      Pirate

      Remember

      You're one-in-a-million. Which means in China there are 1,351 people exactly like you...

  3. John P

    This has been a long time coming so if they really did just recently spaff a load of money on XP licenses, then they have no one but themselves to blame.

    Windows XP is 12 years old and, as much as I loved the old gal, all good things must come to an end and M$ capitulating to Beijing will only make the transition more painful in the long run as it will just make everyone complacent and then they'll leave switching until 5 minutes before whatever new expiry date they negotiated.

    As a good will gesture, Microsoft could offer them a good deal on a load of Windows 7 licenses. Or alternatively, they've got a load of Surface RT's gathering dust in a warehouse, maybe the PRC are the only ones on the planet desperate enough to buy them!

    1. I like noodles

      all good things must come to an end

      A saying that's often used and rarely justified. So tell me then, why must all good things come to an end? Or to make it simpler, why must this particular good thing come to an end?

      1. NumptyScrub

        quote: "A saying that's often used and rarely justified. So tell me then, why must all good things come to an end?"

        Because current best guesses are that the universe (and by extension time itself) has only a finite lifespan? You can extend XP support until "the end of time", however when you reach that point it will still end.

        Linguistic pedantry, I know, but then so was the original question ^^;

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >>all good things must come to an end

        >A saying that's often used and rarely justified. So tell me then, why must all good things come to an end? >Or to make it simpler, why must this particular good thing come to an end?

        Because:

        1. it's propriety software and therefore belongs to someone

        2. They have decided to stop supporting it. Simple as that.

        If you don't like that business model there are plenty of Open Source alternatives available

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @I like noodles

        I believe the proper saying is 'all good things come to an end', as in "Things are good now, but don't plan on it lasting forever- use it now to prepare for when it's gone".

        But in any case, all good things SHOULD come to an end. And this should be because they get better. Health Care? I'd imagine the modern NHS bears surprisingly little resemblance to the NHS as originally conceived. And it covers more people, diagnoses more illnesses more correctly and allows us to cure more of them.

        Just because a thing is good doesn't mean it shouldn't end, forever enshrined as 'well, that's good enough guys'.

        Take radio- AM/FM radio do a great job, so DAB isn't going to take off properly for a long time yet. It's not time for AM/FM to come to an end. But AM/FM will come to an end one day when they're replaced with, say, HyperDAB+++V2.0 that can give you an octophonic sound signal in the middle of an underwater mountain range while using no power- use of AM/FM (still a good thing) will come to an end because something better has replaced it.

    2. BongoJoe
      Thumb Up

      If all good things come have to come to an end then you may have a case to get rid of one's doctor and dentist. After all, a happy and pain free existance is a Good Thing, right? Mind you, we may have stumbled on a central tenet of UK Gov's Natonal Health agenda here.

      No, Good Things need not come to an end. On the contrary, Good Things need to comtnue and Bad Things need to come to an end.

      This could be the Get Out that Miscrosoft are looking for. They can now argue that XP 'support' is going to continue because of the request of the Chinese Government and that they will, after all, offer a small subscription service.

      They get to keep face, we get to keep a Good Thing and everyone is happy..

      1. Not That Andrew
        Thumb Down

        Let's run with your rather dubious anthology. In that case, XP is like like a syphilitic cancer-ridden 90 year old drug addict who has been on life support for the last 15 years. Sometimes you just have to let go.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Sometimes you just have to let go."

          ...and then embrace -- what??

    3. An0n C0w4rd

      You forgot one thing...

      all good things must come to an end

      You forgot to justify XP as a "good thing". Familiar, yes. I'm not sure it is "good" any more.

      Since it's EOL was announced support for new hardware isn't guaranteed (and I suspect a lot of new wifi dongles/cards don't support XP very well, if at all), and the less said about it's IPv6 support the better.

      1. I like noodles

        Re: You forgot one thing...

        Since it's EOL was announced support for new hardware isn't guaranteed (and I suspect a lot of new wifi dongles/cards don't support XP very well, if at all), and the less said about it's IPv6 support the better.

        But had the EOL not been planned, these would be sorted out. And you also appear to be assuming the hardware is knackered too - and that's not necessarily the case either.

        Its EOL is when it is mostly for commercial reasons. Because Microsoft wants it to, not because it must.

      2. BillG Silver badge

        Re: You forgot one thing...

        Since it's EOL was announced support for new hardware isn't guaranteed

        No, but as long as there are XP computers out there, HW manufacturers will still offer drivers or risk losing a sale.

        1. Mr. Peterson

          Re: You forgot one thing...

          what color/colour is the sky in your world?

      3. dajames Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: You forgot one thing...

        You forgot to justify XP as a "good thing". Familiar, yes. I'm not sure it is "good" any more.

        Since it's EOL was announced support for new hardware isn't guaranteed ...

        When people talk about XP as "good" they mean one of two things.

        a) I want my Windows to look and work like XP, regardless of what's under the covers.

        b) XP works for me, and I don't want to have to pay for an upgrade.

        If Microsoft were smart, their answer to (a) would simply be to repackage Windows 8 so that it looked and worked exactly like XP, while having all the new goodness (and the nasty DRM) of the new system, without any change in appearance or requirement for the user to learn anything new.

        The answer to (b) is probably Linux ... Microsoft's problem is that the answer to (a) will look like Linux as well, if they don't learn that in order to succeed they have to provide what users actually want.

      4. John P

        Re: You forgot one thing...

        It was good in it's time, but as stated by yourself others, it's had it's day and doesn't support things it really needs to in the modern world.

      5. Tomato42 Silver badge

        Re: You forgot one thing...

        @An0n C0w4rd: IPv6 or modern wifi architecture in XP? you make me laugh

        Microsoft didn't add support for AES or TLS1.0 to XP, ever. Both of which predate RTM version of it by years! Yet alone the SP1, SP2 or SP3... And don't make me remember IE6. Browser so bad, even its maker advertised against it!

        It's a good end to bad riddance.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: You forgot one thing...

          >Microsoft didn't add support for AES or TLS1.0 to XP, ever.

          Did you miss KB893357 ? Obviously your WiFi adaptor and its drivers also needed to support WPA2, AES etc.

    4. BillG Silver badge
      Megaphone

      all good things must come to an end

      Actually, this EOL reminds me of an old Italian saying,

      "Tutto termina in giudizio"

      which means

      "All things end in judgement"

      1. Turtle

        @ BillG

        'Actually, this EOL reminds me of an old Italian saying, 'Tutto termina in giudizio' which means 'All things end in judgement'"

        "All things end in judgement" - an Italian saying? It's good enough to originally be a Latin proverb!

  4. localzuk

    They can pay like anyone else

    Microsoft offer continued XP support - to those organisations willing to pay. So, if China wants extended support they can get their wallet out.

    If they think it'll increase piracy by not extending it, then they should get their house in order and prosecute the pirates!

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: They can pay like anyone else

      Huge customers are always a double edged sword, no matter the industry you're in. It's great when they're buying stuff, but when they start making demands you've got a real problem. If you don't acquiesce to their demands there's a very real risk that they won't buy from you in the future.

      Once a giant customer leaves, there's also the very real possibility that smaller customers will feel encouraged to move away as well. If (x) can do this, we can as well.

      Not that I have a lot of sympathy for MS, I was just pointing out that having huge customers is a pain in the ass.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They can pay like anyone else

        " If you don't acquiesce to their demands there's a very real risk that they won't buy from you in the future"

        So they leave and go where? Red Flag Linux clearly has been less popular than XP. Can't see Apple cutting them a cheap deal. Android isn't a proper productivity desktop. If they choose to pirate W7 then they'll be excluded from security updates, leaving them in the same position as they will be with XP.

        Unless IBM are still selling OS/2, then thereis only one option for both parties: we can expect some face saving compromise about limited duration of critical vulnerabilities fixed for Chinese language pack installations (ie they get extended support but don't pay for it), accompanied by a commitment by the Chinese government to move all official machines to licenced W7 by date X.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: They can pay like anyone else

          I realize there aren't really other options, but it's pretty risky to lose a customer with the resources to create their own option.

          In this case China could actually provide the impetus for desktop Linux to actually be a thing instead of a sideshow. I can't see them wanting to do that, it's a lot cheaper to pay MS, but I could see them going that route if MS didn't want to play ball.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    serious security risks for many machines in the PRC, with opportunistic cyber criminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities

    The phrase "hoist by their own petard" comes to mind...

  6. Nick 6

    Life is easier with XP

    The last thing certain government want is the mass movement away from an insecure operating system for which they have many zero day exploits.

    "Please keep supporting it, some of our favourite espionage and control targets still depend upon Windows XP."

  7. vmistery

    I can't imagine MS is going to want to extend the date further. At the end of the day XP was the last desktop OS that with a Volume License key you didn't need to activate the product (so no potential nasties lurking in your dodgy copy because you could use a proper clean one). However, I would support a move by MS to release an XP service pack 4 which added some of these 'features' in along with some beefed up security even for a fee as it would make life easier for a lot of people!

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Two problems with your post

      One, you can install bog standard Windows 7, then install the widely available 'Windows Loader' freeware. Granted, that's closed source, but considering how many people use the most popular one, the author is playing the long game if he has evil intent, not to mention that Microsoft adding a NSA backdoor is a likely source of attack than the Loader.

      Two, Microsoft bases their support based on the date of the last service pack. Releasing another XP service pack would reset the timer. Why do you think they decided against releasing SP2 for Windows 7? They're looking forward to the scheduled end date in January 2015 (yes, barely a year from now!) though I'm sure there will be huge pressure applied against them to extend that date given the dislike of Windows 8.

  8. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    News just in -- China goes dark as XP upgrade fails to find a single authenticated copy.

  9. Chris Hawkins

    How the world has changed!

    10 years ago, Microsoft might, repeat, might have just listened, and only listened, to the White House if a similiar request had been made.

    10 years on, with US power and influence waning on many fronts, Beijing feels it is now a "major world" equal to the US and can "front-down" Microsoft and make demands like these!

    I love it!!!

    (gave up XP in 2004 after a little trojan incident involving a download from a (had to be!) Chinese server and living happily ever since on Debian!!!!)

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: How the world has changed!

      This has nothing to do with political leverage. If this was a political thing there are better ways of dealing with it.

      This is the same problem every business faces sooner or later. No matter how large or small your business is, a major customer will eventually demand preferential treatment. Generally you accommodate them but not before a deal has been negotiated. In this example MS may continue support for XP in China but China will go ahead and commit to (x) copies of Windows 8 in the future.

      Preferential treatment does not mean free. It means you are willing to work to keep a customer but nobody is expecting it to be done for free. China knows this, now it's just down to deciding how much to pay for the special treatment.

  10. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Take it out and shoot it

    Extending support for XP would be terrible - the operating system is ancient and needs patching every month just to attempt to fix this months exploits. It's time to die and the fact that people like it is not an excuse for keeping it alive. If it was then I'd be typing this this comment in with a line editor (ED) on a terminal connected to my CP/M 2.2 machine at 4800 baud.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Take it out and shoot it

      "Extending support for XP would be terrible - the operating system is ancient and needs patching every month just to attempt to fix this months exploits." You mean ANY version of windows needs patching every month.

      BTW I have an XP workstation installed 2005, running on KVM, it's connected to the Internet (not directly), doesn't have any AV, doesn't have any virii or malware either. It's users that make PCs insecure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Take it out and shoot it

        "doesn't have any AV, doesn't have any virii or malware either"

        How do you know it doesn't have malware if you have no A/V?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Take it out and shoot it

          "How do you know it doesn't have malware if you have no A/V?"

          Off line scans when I can be bothered, but none have been detected. One can also run scans using Malwarebytes, pc housecall and similar services without running AV and test files before downloading using on-line file checkers.

          AV is a type of virus: it uses cpu cycles, memory and disk time, it installs a load of carp you don't want or need, it sends confidential info to third parties.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: AC "none have been detected"

            The NSA loves you.

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: AC "I have an XP workstation installed 2005"

        I'm guessing you probably work for a power company, probably supervising switching stations then - or maybe you work for RBS?

        Look - I have nothing against XP as an operating system, it's good but it's old and out of date. It's time to move on - I have several old computers running old operating systems (RSX11M, VMS, ZCPR etc) for media conversions but there's no way I'd try to do modern work on them or $DEITY$ forbid, connect them to the Internet.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: AC "I have an XP workstation installed 2005"

          "I have several old computers running old operating systems (RSX11M, VMS, ZCPR etc) for media conversions but ... $DEITY$ forbid, connect them to the Internet."

          Don't see a problem connecting them to the Internet (assuming the TCP/IP stack is reasonably recent - I suspect a 1980's~early 1990's TCP/IP stage might complain if connected to today's Internet), particularly if it is via a router with no inbound port redirects mapped - Otherwise these systems are immune to any Windows or mainstream browser exploits and if some kiddie managed to gain a Telnet login, I suspect they would struggle to come to terms with the unfamiliar command line...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Take it out and shoot it

      Windows 7 and 8 also need patching every month...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Take it out and shoot it

        "Windows 7 and 8 also need patching every month..."

        But still have far fewer patches and vulnerabilities than alternatives like OS-X or enterprise Linux distributions...

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: the fact that people like it is not an excuse for keeping it alive

      You're new to this whole "market" thing, aren't you ?

      We're talking about software. Software does not rot, it does not go stale, it has no "sell by" date.

      The only thing that makes XP unsuitable for today's hardware is the fact that hardware has progressed by leaps and bounds since XP first hit the market. My original XP disk - Service Pack 0 if you wish - cannot install on any PC that is less than five years old. But an XP SP3 disk can - because it was updated to "understand" the new hardware world it can live in. It is still XP, however.

      This demonstrates that XP need not be retired for reasons of age, that is not a proper argument. And, on any market, people liking a product is very much the perfect excuse for keeping said product "alive". It's called maintaining revenue. Only in the software market do we have notions of "old" software that is no longer suitable. XP can be upgraded.

      That said, I do not think that XP should be upgraded. It was a messy, bloated piece of kit with one saving grace : it was better than Windows 98.

      So yes, let it die. Replace it with Windows 7 which is a messy, bloated piece of kit that has one saving grace : it is better than XP.

      And, while you have Windows 7 running, wait for Windows 8 to die because it is a messy, bloated piece of kit with no saving grace whatsoever.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    I'm conflicted

    What if I want both sides to lose?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: I'm conflicted

      You encourage both sides to hire expensive lawyers.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its only about 3 yrs since Microsoft last sold XP - mainly on netbooks towards the end. I think its disgraceful that they are ending support so soon. So, I hope the Chinese can persuade them to change their minds.

  13. NogginTheNog
    Happy

    If I was MS

    I'd say yeah, no problem, will give free extended support to every LEGAL copy. Please have your licence/proof of purchase details to hand when you call, ok?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If I was MS

      And if I were China, I'd patch win7 or 8 so it doesn't check it's licensing or check out the source code and release patches themselves.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS should simply take Windows 7 and rename it 'Windows XP Service Pack 4'. Instantly everyone is happy. China gets security updates for years to come, users get to apply the 'update' and stay on WIndows XP. Business gets to sigh relief that they aren't makign a massive change that puts their revenes at risk.

    It's all about perception.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Win 7 isn't XP SP4

      Not a SP for XP. gratuitously different, awkward and too many programs won't run.

      Nor was Win2K a SP7 for NT4.0 though less a problem of a move than XP to Win7.

      Basically MS has NO decent upgrade path for XP. There is so much pain and incompatibility that Debian + Wine or Linux of choice + VM with XP for the applications with no Linux alternative is looking good.

      The only time MS did this close to this before to Business users was anyone using MS OS/2. But since mostly people only used that with MS Lan manager for DOS & Win3.x clients, then migration to NT was possible, especially as it even ran OS/2 console apps (up to NT 4.0 anyway, I never tested Win2K server or Win2003 Server with OS/2 console apps).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Win 7 isn't XP SP4

        "Basically MS has NO decent upgrade path for XP."

        Pretty much every corporate on the planet seemed to manage just fine with Windows 7.

        "There is so much pain and incompatibility that Debian + Wine or Linux of choice + VM with XP for the applications with no Linux alternative is looking good."

        Welcome to planet earth. Here, that would be a much harder route. Munich council - have been desperately trying for ten years and still havn't finished migrating - and have spent tens of millions.....

  15. Don Jefe

    MS should sell them counterfeit support. It mostly works OK, but every so often it changes the dates of all your files and adds 23,000 files to the print queue.

  16. Mage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

    Explain to me why when there are no Jigs or moulds to wear out that MS won't sell the most popular desktop OS ever?

    It only requires DVD pressing.

    They are maintaining it via Embedded XP for some years.

    They have an ego that gets in the way of making money. Sell people what they want and I bet you could make more profit selling a SP upgrade for XP and new copies of XP than on Surface or XBox.

    Daft ejits.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

      If MS did decide to extend security support for desktop XP, then would they be open to people asking for their money back for the Windows 7/8 upgrade they had paid for?

      If I ran an organisation that just spent millions on an OS upgrade, primarily for security support, then I'd be very upset if my competitors found they could then stay on XP and spend nothing.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

        Yes, well, MS should compensate but only where people didn't need new HW.

        People are being forced to spend money on NOTHING. There is no real advantage to Vista, Win7 or Win8, only negatives. But if people need to buy new HW anyway apart from upgrading XP then it's less clear cut. MS can afford to to give them free XP as they already paid for Win7 and this costs MS nothing and buying new HW anyway you need OS.

        Any XP limitations are either incorrect installation or artificial. We had 64 bit on NT4.0, there is a 64 bit XP (two actually if you count the dead Itanium version) and NT 4.0 Enterprise 32 bit could access beyond the 2G / 4G limits via PAE.

        There is in reality no better security in Vista/Win7/Win8. Most issues are down to bad installs and users installing junk. AV nor any Win8 feature doesn't protect against that.

        They need to differentiate OSes more too. Trying to have one name, one kernel and one GUI for all types of platforms and products is stupid. Of course developing win3.x, Win9x, WinME in parallel with NT3.5, NT3.51, NT4.0 and Win2K both families for PCs was stupid. Maybe they should have done non-PC console device with Win9x family on it. It was stupid on Office or Home computers other than for games.

        1. WatAWorld

          Re: Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

          Why should MS support people who are happy running XP?

          There is no legal principle requiring MS to change XP in perpetuity as long as someone wants it to.

          XP was published, maintained, and its done, over.

          It is like an old Apple operating system -- extinct.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

      Our embedded Windows devices are on Windows 7...

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

        Embedded Devices with Win7.

        Irrelevant as usually the vendor upgrades/changes or not the Embedded OS. Often you wouldn't know an embedded device uses Win CE, Win3.11, NT 4.0 or XP embedded and normally it doesn't matter unless it's on the Internet, in which case why isn't it running Linux, VXWorks or QNX?

        Actually I've been mystified why anyone chooses MS for embedded devices since about 1990.

        P.S. I don't count a POS or ATM as "embedded" as they have a big screen and GUI. Some of those pretty much are PCs. Most embedded devices have no x86 CPU, and small mono LCD or no display at all (Alarms, Washing Machines, Routers/Modems, CNC machines etc).

  17. Rick Giles
    Linux

    Problem Solved

    Follow Munich's lead.

    1. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
      Linux

      Re: Problem Solved

      Surely China has its own Operating System.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/22/china_makes_linux_os_with_canonical_help/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Problem Solved

        "Surely China has its own Operating System."

        Yes but they still need to use Windows when they want to use a version of Office that actually works....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Problem Solved

          "Yes but they still need to use Windows when they want to use a version of Office that actually works...."

          You have a version of Office that actually works? Where did that come from? Can't have been Redmond ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Problem Solved

      "Follow Munich's lead."

      Yes - lets all waste millions and ten years - and still not complete a Linux migration - and when we need to do real work - like have a version of Office that actually works - have to use Windows via Citrix!!

      That must be why so many other companies have followed their lead. Oh, wait....

  18. NBCanuck
    Coat

    I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but....

    I was a happy Windows 7 user, but put together a new PC and decided to give Window 8.1 a try. I fully expecting to be disappointed and downgrade to Windows 7. While I did install Classic Shell to get rid of TIFKAM (and Microsoft should have made this a selectable option during install) I find it to be stable, fast and have had no problems with it.

    Yes, it is different. No, Microsoft should not have shoved the new interface at us without an option. But in the end, if you give it a chance it works at least as well as anything that came before.

    and down-votes starting......NOW!

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but....

      Yes, down votes from people who've never done the experiment you did.

      There is too much blind prejudice against MS and in favour of Turtle Neck guy.

    2. Not That Andrew

      Re: I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but....

      Well, you yourself say you installed Classic Shell so you wouldn't have to look at TIFKAM. If TIFKAM had been optional, I'm sure Win 8 would be as popular as Win 7. Most people would love to have the under the hood improvements, but the UI is a deal breaker. Installing Classic Shell or Start8 is not always an option, especially in a situation where software has to be approved by corporate.

  19. Richard Plinston Silver badge

    Alternate

    Given the cost of replacing XP with a newer version of Windows for half the Windows machines in China, and potentially replacing many of those machines with newer hardware, it would be cheaper to fork ReactOS and make it work fully so that it can replace XP for free.

    Doing this would likely get Microsoft to a) extend support and b) provide upgrade pricing for Windows 7 for XP users.

    But they should stick to using their ReactOS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternate

      "it would be cheaper to fork ReactOS and make it work fully so that it can replace XP for free."

      No it wouldn't - the ongoing TCO of a current Microsoft OS and toolset are generally lower than alternatives - and you are not allowing for the cost of porting thousands of apps that don't run properly in 3rd party emulators...Most of which don't have source code available....

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Alternate

        > No it wouldn't - the ongoing TCO of a current Microsoft OS and toolset are generally lower than alternatives

        You only say that because you have a brain implant with a direct feed from Redmond marketing department.

        1. Not That Andrew

          Re: Alternate

          Erm, I'm pretty sure the TCO of REACTOS would be way higher that any version of Windows, seeing as it's basically alpha-level software and is totally unfit for production. You would have to figure in the cost of getting it fit to do anything.

  20. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Opening gambit

    Since China has the source code for XP, they could easily maintain it themselves. (I see no reason to doubt the competence of their programmers.) It would, however, be of dubious legality. However, if Microsoft refuse to sell the product and refuse to maintain it, the legailty of Chinese programmers maintaining it for free becomes debatable and in China itself the debate would presumably be fairly short.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Opening gambit

      I think you could make a good case that if MS has abandoned the operating system people who have bought the OS can turn to others to maintain it.

      Certainly Chinese courts would never tell the Chinese government it can't maintain it.

      China has lots of options, it is garbage for China to be begging MS to maintain XP installations running bootleg copies of XP.

  21. WatAWorld

    China begs MS to maintain pirated copies of Windows XP

    The article says 70% of the software is stolen.

    Why should MS support stolen software for free?

    If China wants it supported, let China pay MS to provide the support.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: China begs MS to maintain pirated copies of Windows XP

      Why should China let MS have access to their internal market? If MS want to play then there is a price to be paid...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: China begs MS to maintain pirated copies of Windows XP

        "Why should China let MS have access to their internal market?"

        Because the US tends to get a bit anal about restraint of trade type issues....And they are Chinas largest trading partner.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: China begs MS to maintain pirated copies of Windows XP

          >Because the US tends to get a bit anal about restraint of trade type issues....And they are Chinas largest trading partner.

          Yes, the US do have a problem - access to the Chinese market is probably worth more to them (both financially and psychologically) than the US market is to China.

          Currently, I would suggest that China is happy for US companies to outsource manufacturing to them, letting the US companies concerned build the reputation of "made in China". But in terms of real exports I suspect that presently China is quite happy building trading relationships with the rest of the world, where doors are more willingly being opened.. Remember China doesn't think of tomorrow so much as the day after tomorrow, this is probably due in part to it's long history of dynasties influencing it's thinking.

  22. Long John Brass Silver badge

    Ubuntu

    I bet MS would change their mind if Mark Shuttleworth did a press piece saying

    "Hey China, we will help you out!" Mass installfest in PRC everyone :)

    GNU/Linux + Libre Office + Wine should cover 80-90% of most use cases no?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ubuntu

      It would take them a while to stop laughing...

      Have you tried using that crap for work? I mean in a real job where it actually matters what your documents look like when you send them to clients? Clearly not....

      1. Long John Brass Silver badge

        Re: Ubuntu

        Ummm ... yes actually; For many years

        Have you?

        Although I will admit; as my day job is Linux/Unix admin I don't spend a lot of time doing spiffy power-point presentations. Most people are happy if my e-mails contain less than ~10% spelling errors :)

  23. macaroo

    Why would they be concerned with security with a 75% piratecy rate? These machines can't down load the Windows updates as they can't pass the muster with validation software.

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