First Windows, now Office is being banned by China's government

Earlier this year, China moved to ban the use of Windows 8, and now it looks like the country is not yet done trying to distance itself from Microsoft software.

In a report from CRI, it's stated that part of the Chinese central government and subordinate departments are banning the use of Microsoft Office. The reason is the same as the ban of Windows 8: Chinese officials allegedly believe it contains spyware for the U.S. government.

Instead of Office, China will use its own internally grown software as a replacement for the popular productivity suite, CRI's report claims.

This news is obviously a huge blow for Microsoft, which is trying to penetrate the Chinese market with legitimate copies of its software. At one point, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that nine out of 10 copies of Windows in China were pirated versions.

While the Chinese government is trying to actively avoid Microsoft software in favor of its internal platforms, we wonder if Microsoft will work directly with the Chinese to remedy these woes.

China is a massive market, and for Microsoft to have its software shut out of this territory could severely cut potential profits. So far, China has not placed any bans on Windows Phones, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen in the near future based on these actions.

[Update] Looks like Microsoft is saying that this is not true and has issued the statement below:

Source: CRI via Windows IT Pro | Thanks for the tip Acrodex!

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51 Comments

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What ever the Chinese come up with I hope they will make it available to US citizens. Perhaps they will develop an operating system that could be used to dump windows also. I'd rather have the Chinese spying on me from afar that the US. On many levels they are still evil but less evil that the US.

it is clear this is a political move, but what does china hope to do? are they going to ban android next? windows has been open source to china for a very long time. They clearly can probably ask office be made to them also.

what china doesn't trust is compiled versions of software, it means basically anything, from google's android to libre office that is pre-compiled in a device can have NSA ware. Unless china thinks to ban all software that isn't compiled by the goverment, what is their game plan?

clearly they can't ban all western software this way and expect no retaliatory reaction from the US and EU.

Why is anyone surprised at this? In case everyone forgot, Bill Gates and President Hu Jintao signed an agreement where the Chinese government would replace all their appallingly bad Linux stuff with Microsoft Windows and Office. Microsoft gave them an eye-wateringly low price and access to source code. This agreement doesn't cover Windows 8 or Office 365.

It's no surprise that the Chinese are using the US embarrassment over Snowden and the NSA to hammer out another deal with an even lower price. They're Chinese after all.

How a country can do that? I mean, so all information of internet goes over the government firewalls or something?

Is China the only one able to do that? or can other countries do that as well?

current power user combo is Windows 7 and Office 2010...
last was XP/2003 server and Office 2003
after windows 7 is gone there is only Linux folks.

Sounds as if the Chinese are just trying to keep up with the Jonses to me. Good for them, I believe they do have the most powerful supercomputer in the world now. As for me and my house, we trust the Chinese about as much as we trust our own, so what the hell.
huawei.com/us/

xankazo said,
There go millions of pirated copies.

^^^This. Thats what would have happened anyways. Not sure why Microsoft wants to even try to sell it to them.

I would say 10's of millions ... if not more.

Check the Global Survey from BSA.

http://globalstudy.bsa.org/2013/countries.html

China @ 74% of "UNLICENSED SOFTWARE INSTALLATION RATES"

Commercial Value "$8,767 in Millions"

Looking more into the Global Survey its a pool of 24,000 respondents, so not sure if that would result in a good representation etc.

Note sure if that's Recommended Retail Pricing though, so the $$ may be skewed.


Let's return the favor. Any product that is produced in China, ban it from the USA.
Especially sense many are harmful to our health. Many toys are painted with lead based paints, the electronics are made with chemicals that are banned in most countries including the USA.

Hi_XPecTa_Chens said,
Let's return the favor. Any product that is produced in China, ban it from the USA..
he typed on his Made in China keyboard.....

Major_Plonquer said,
he typed on his Made in China keyboard.....

he he. sadly china has purchased the US congress and you know the red elephant mascot state wouldn't do anything to punish their capital masters.

Following this line of logic, they would have to ban -ALL- computer OS/Software from the U.S.

That would leave them with Linux and Open Office alternatives. Or roll their own...

Kind of funny that they're paranoid about spyware after it was revealed that cheap Chinese Android phones shipped with spyware.

Dutchie64 said,
Following this line of logic, they would have to ban -ALL- computer OS/Software from the U.S.

That would leave them with Linux and Open Office alternatives. Or roll their own...

there is already an office suite by a chinese company, can't remember it's name though.

Kingsoft Office? It's been around since the late 80's. http://www.wps.com I actually really like it. In my experience, it's 90% compatible with office and the interface, while does knock off the ribbon, is actually really pleasing. It's worth a try if you don't have $140 dollars laying around for office.

f0rk_b0mb said,
Kingsoft Office? It's been around since the late 80's. http://www.wps.com I actually really like it. In my experience, it's 90% compatible with office and the interface, while does knock off the ribbon, is actually really pleasing. It's worth a try if you don't have $140 dollars laying around for office.
Kingsoft Office for Windows is incompatible with mainland Europe. It has a serious bug inside that breaks Windows regional settings. They've been told about it long time ago, but they still keep ignoring it. It's not there on Linux version, though.

Another big problem is lack of localizations and poor support of regional standards. Especially lack of currency type support.

They also have macros only in paid version.

Also, don't like lack of colorbars and table formation.

Still, of course Libre with its ugly, dated UI isn't an option at all.

Edited by coth, Jun 30 2014, 7:59pm :

coth said,
Kingsoft Office for Windows is incompatible with mainland Europe. It has a serious bug inside that breaks Windows regional settings. They've been told about it long time ago, but they still keep ignoring it. It's not there on Linux version, though.

Another big problem is lack of localizations and poor support of regional standards. Especially lack of currency type support.

They also have macros only in paid version.

Also, don't like lack of colorbars and table formation.

Still, of course Libre with its ugly, dated UI isn't an option at all.


More to the point, here in China, Kingsoft is famous for being hacked and used as a distribution channel for malware. Stay clear.

Guess China doesnt like the tiles/metro look either....

But seriously, not sure what their own inhouse software can do compared to the industry standard.

So far, China has not placed any bans on Windows Phones, but we wouldn't be surprised to see this happen in the near future based on these actions.

Soon. If Win8 and now Office is banned, everything else is soon to follow.

and beyon, western software, including android and iOS to follow. Basically china is saying, if it comes from the US, we don't trust it.

_Alexander said,
Commies want to use Linux and Open Source.

remember this is the goverment, not the private industry which have had linux and open source for long, but office and windows are free in china :)

Not stated is which version of Office is being referenced--Office 2013 or Office 365. If the latter, their position is certainly understandable (and reasonable).

Well, that's one way to solve the piracy problem in China...

Or not. Why would people pirate software they didn't want?

_dandy_ said,
Well, that's one way to solve the piracy problem in China...

Or not. Why would people pirate software they didn't want?

I wouldnt be surprised if the "internally grown" software was 99.99% of the same code as MS Office...

Scabrat said,

I wouldnt be surprised if the "internally grown" software was 99.99% of the same code as MS Office...

Are you saying Microsoft's source code is leaked?

nub said,

Are you saying Microsoft's source code is leaked?


He's just saying he doesn't have the slightest idea about software development, yet he likes making outrageous comments.

audioman said,

He's just saying he doesn't have the slightest idea about software development, yet he likes making outrageous comments.

Outrageous comments? I dont think you know what China is like... They copy anything they want, produce it there, and if an outside company complains about it the "legal system" says, "Na. Its not a copy."

But I didnt say they were doing it. I just said I wouldnt be surprised if it was. Meaning if they come out in 6 months and confirm it I wont say, "Ha! I knew it!" but I will say, "Hu. I am not surprised."

Actualy, this is the result of Microsoft answering "No" on the question "Provide support for the illegal versions of Windows XP and Office 2003 in our land.. o, and the legal ones...".

Studio384 said,
Actualy, this is the result of Microsoft answering "No" on the question "Provide support for the illegal versions of Windows XP and Office 2003 in our land.. o, and the legal ones...".
it's all about online services deeply integrated into windows 8 and office 2013. It's easier to forbid software at all, than controlling.

coth said,
it's all about online services deeply integrated into windows 8 and office 2013. It's easier to forbid software at all, than controlling.

no sense...they're not mandatory at all