Local firms to continue XP support

By Zhang Ye Source:Global Times Published: 2014-4-7 23:43:01


Microsoft Corp is set to end updates and security support for its popular personal computer operating system  (OS) Windows XP on Tuesday, while Chinese users expect the country's third-party anti-virus companies to help fight problems like software malfunctions.

The US software company has long been persuading users of Windows XP worldwide to migrate to a more updated system, in case Windows XP computers would be easily attacked by virus and malwares from Tuesday.

It seems that Chinese users are not fazed by the move, as domestic computing firms are actively leaping to safeguard Windows XP.

A Wednesday report by Beijing-based China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) indicates that only 25.06 percent of survey participants plan to upgrade to a newer generation operating system and more than half of them intend to continue using Windows XP as long as possible.

The number of participants was not revealed in the report. CNNIC could not be reached by press time.

Analysts, ­however, are concerned that protection from third-party firms is unreliable.

"Only Microsoft has a strong knowledge of its OS and can nip all security risks in the bud. But it will be difficult for third-party security software companies to do so," Zhang Yi, CEO of Shenzhen-based market research consultancy iiMedia Research, told the Global Times Monday.

China's major third-party software providers - Qihoo 360 and Kingsoft - voluntarily pledged continuous protection for domestic Windows XP computers in late February.

Several firms - Qihoo, Tencent and Kingsoft - also set up partnerships with Microsoft China in early March to offer better security assistance for users in the mainland.

Some security packages for Windows XP system developed by those third-party companies have already appeared to be vulnerable to hackers during a recent campaign initiated by Hunan-headquartered technology platform erangelab.com on Saturday that ran from 8 am to 9 pm.

In an attempt to challenge the protection offered by Tencent, Kingsoft and ­Qihoo ­360, 57 people participated in the activity, 9 of whom successfully hacked Windows XP computers protected by Tencent and 13 hacked security software offered by Kingsoft, Erangelab disclosed on its official blog Saturday. Qihoo 360's protection was not breached during the campaign.

Zhang suggested Chinese users of Windows XP either adopt a newer OS such as Windows 7 as soon as possible or stop storing important personal information on their Windows XP computers.

Microsoft has also found that it cannot ­carry out the retirement of Windows XP quickly on the mainland, given the large ­usage of the system, fearing a hasty move will weaken its brand value in the China market, said Liu Dalong, an industry analyst with Beijing-based market research firm iResearch.

That's the reason the US software veteran is willing to have tie-ups with Chinese firms, Liu told the Global Times. "The partnership can also save Microsoft much cash and effort in the process of persuading Chinese diehards."

According to a statement obtained by the Global Times from Microsoft China in early March, third-party security software companies are authorized to provide fixes against malware and anti-virus protection from April 8 to July 14, 2015.

Xie Enwei, vice president of Microsoft China, thanked the efforts of China's security software companies in supporting Windows XP in the market during a press conference in early March, but he still expected they could help push forward the popularization of the Windows 8 series.

The company is trying hard to develop and promote Windows 8.1, which is expected to be its innovative direction for software operation, said Zhang, noting this is also a major reason for Windows XP being pensioned off.

However, Zhang thought that the company has made a fairly radical jump to the Windows 8 series, which is designed for touch screen devices.

The company might find it hard to attract the majority of consumers on the PC front in the short term, he added.

In late January, Microsoft reported revenue of $24.52 billion for the quarter ended ­December 31, 2013, up 14 percent year-on-year.

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