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Microsoft to extend XP support in China

Redmond teams up with Tencent, Lenovo, others to protect out-of-support PCs

Microsoft to extend XP support in China
Some 200m people use XP-based machines in China, which accounts for 70% of the market.

Microsoft has teamed up with Lenovo Group, Tencent Holdings and a number of other China-based technology companies, to deliver software security services to Chinese users of its out-of-support Windows XP operating system, Reuters reported.

IT security analysts have widely warned of the risks faced by XP users. Microsoft's legacy OS became effectively obsolete this week when the Redmond-based company discontinued updates for the platform, which means users may be prone to malware.

Some 200m people use XP-based machines in China, which accounts for 70% of the market, according to Zhongguancun Online, cited by state news agency Xinhua. Many older machines cannot be upgraded owing to the hardware requirements of newer versions of Windows, meaning an OS upgrade would demand a machine replacement.

Microsoft will make use of a number of China-based partners, including Lenovo, Tencent to provide repair post-attack repair services and data protection and to offer help with upgrades to 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 Reuters.

Tencent confirmed it had set up two 24-hour hotlines to offer permanent free support for XP and Qihoo 360 Technology Co said it would offer security support and, for CNY299 ($48.25), help users upgrade to more recent versions.

In pushing upgrade services Microsoft is tackling an age-old problem of trying to eliminate pirated versions of its software running on machines in China. Former CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly told employees in 2011 that piracy in China meant Microsoft's revenue stream from the country was less than from the Netherlands despite Chinese computer sales being on a par with those in the US.

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