Windows 8 Update: China prefers to stick with dying Windows XP rather than upgrade

Also: Next Windows 8 release rumored to be closer to Windows Phone; report says Windows 8.1 uptake slow

China says it wants Microsoft to extend support for Windows XP because that will help it in its fight to stop proliferation of pirated Microsoft software.

A report from TechWeb written in Chinese says the release of Windows 8 means a substantial increase in the selling price of a Windows operating system, especially in light of the upcoming end-of-life of Windows XP, which is still used by a large percentage of Chinese.

[BACKGROUND: Microsoft: Most PCs running pirated Windows in China have security issues 

PIRACY AND SECURITY: Inside Microsoft botnet takedowns]  

According to a Google translation of the report, “the customer cannot purchase the applicable operating system; Win8, and a substantial increase in selling prices, increased user software procurement costs.” Terminating support for XP will pose security threats to users, according to Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of China’s National Copyright Administration.

He linked the demise of XP to China’s efforts to stem software piracy by making pirated software seem a better option. “These practices affect the smooth operations of genuine software in China,” Yan Xiaohong is quoted as saying.

About the same time Microsoft launched Windows 8 it stopped selling a low-end version of Windows 7, forcing potential customers to consider the more expensive Windows 8, he says.

He says he hopes Microsoft and other software vendors would promote use of legitimate software through sales and services that meet the needs of China customers.

Windows 8 Threshold

The next version of Windows 8 – code-named Threshold – will coincide with upgrades of Windows Phone 8 and Xbox One, according to sources talking to blogger Mary Jo Foley.

A stated goal of Microsoft is to adapt the various operating systems so apps written for one run on the others or at least the bulk of the code written for one can be reused in bulk to create an app for either of the other platforms. A single app store for all three is also a goal.

Threshold is just a common name for the next versions of the three operating systems, not a single OS that replaces the current three, Foley says. The larger unifying factor is that Threshold represents an attempt to develop a common set of high value activities across all the platforms: expression/documents, decision making/task completion, IT management and "serious fun", she says.

In any case the release date for Threshold is sometime in 2015.

Uphill battle for Windows 8/8.1 adoption

Microsoft has been doing its best to promote Windows 8, but the latest monthly report on operating systems in use on the Internet shows that combined use of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 has declined over the past month compared to the month before.

In October the combined use represented 10.25%, but in November that dropped to 9.3%, according to NetMarketshare, which tracks use of key Internet technology.

Within that combined usage, Windows 8.1 actually improved its percentage from 1.72% to 2.64%. The percentage usage of Windows 8 dropped from 7.53% to 6.65%. So it seems that users of Windows 8 are upgrading to Windows 8.1 or at least users who have given up on Windows 8 are being replaced by new adopters who jump in with Windows 8.1.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.

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