BEIJING, April 9 Microsoft Corp has
partnered Lenovo Group Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd
to provide software security services for Windows XP
users in China, after the U.S. tech firm stopped updating the
Microsoft wants users to move to later, more secure versions
of Windows and so stopped servicing the 13-year-old XP this
week, potentially leaving users vulnerable to viruses and
XP has 200 million users in China, or 70 percent of the
market, according to Zhongguancun Online, cited by state news
agency Xinhua. Upgrading could be expensive as computers running
XP might not be powerful enough for newer versions of Windows.
To continue support for XP users, Microsoft has partnered
Lenovo, Tencent and several other Chinese computing companies to
offer services such as information protection, post-virus
repairs and upgrades to the newer Windows 7 or 8.
"For domestic users who continue to use Windows XP before
upgrading to a new operating system, we have made it a priority
to provide safety protections," Microsoft said in an email to
Tencent, in a statement to Reuters, said it will provide
permanent XP support free of charge, and that it has set up two
24-hour hotlines. Lenovo declined to comment.
Among other partners, Qihoo 360 Technology Co will
offer security support and, for 299 yuan ($48.25), help users
transition to newer versions.
"Qihoo 360 will continue to provide Windows XP support to
Chinese users as long as there are still XP users in China,"
Alex Xu, Qihoo 360 co-chief financial officer, told Reuters.
Encouraging users to upgrade could also reduce the number of
computers running pirated Windows XP software. Former CEO Steve
Ballmer reportedly told employees in 2011 that, because of
piracy, Microsoft earned less revenue in China than in the
Netherlands even though Chinese computer sales matched those of
But the cost of upgrading has irked some users. Added to any
transition fee is the cost of the software - at least 888 yuan
($140) for Windows 8 - plus the cost of any hardware upgrade.
"Many of my clients only use their computers for email,"
said a computer shop owner who identified himself by the surname
Niu. "There is no use for them to buy a new computer."
($1 = 6.1968 Chinese Yuan)
(Reporting by Matthew Miller; Additional reporting by Beijing
Newsroom; Editing by Christopher Cushing)