Despite the fact that Windows is installed on hundreds of millions of computers throughout China, the relationship between Microsoft and the formidable nation has been rocky at best. It didn’t get much better when a broadcast on China Central Television, a state-run TV network, heavily criticized Windows 8, either.
A segment on CCTV took the security of the operating system to task, accusing Microsoft of having the ability to mine Windows 8 for user information, including bank account data, and phone numbers, according to people who the program referred to as experts. The program also accused Microsoft of developing Windows 8 collaboratively with the United States government in order to allow it to conduct cyber-espionage activities. This comes after China’s Central Government Procurement Center issued a ban on Windows 8. After the ban was issued, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft was “working proactively with” the CGPC regarding the issue.
Though the CCTV broadcast may not necessarily reflect the sentiments of Windows 8 held by China’s leaders, past CCTV broadcasts that have been critical of certain companies and products reportedly resulted in product recalls and policy changes made by those firms.
Though Microsoft Windows is popularly used in China, that’s largely due to widespread policy. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, now the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, said in 2011 that Microsoft’s Chinese revenue was 5 percent of what the company took in here in the U.S., despite the fact that both markets were similar in size back then.
Will the relationship between Microsoft and China improve once Windows 9, which is rumored to be released next year, hits the market? While that remains to be seen, given that prior versions of Windows are heavily pirated throughout the country, reports indicate that XP users there continue to receive forms of support, even though Microsoft’s official support deadline for Windows XP took place on April 8.
If that’s the case, we seriously doubt that Chinese PC users will have much, if any motivation, to upgrade to Windows 8 anytime soon.