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China's web giants unite to defuse Windows XP bombshell

Tencent, Sogou, Kingsoft and others will provide support for local users

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A gaggle of Chinese web firms have come together with a plan to protect Windows XP users in the Middle Kingdom for at least the next two or three years, according to local reports.

The unusual step will see messaging giant Tencent, search engine Sogou, software company Kingsoft and several others offer technical support for XP including system upgrades and security services, said Xinhua.

This so-called “hedge” against attack will be built before the April 8 XP shutdown date and could last even longer than three years if large numbers of Chinese users still haven’t transitioned to another OS by then.

This could take some time. At the end of 2013, Windows XP still had a market share of around 50 per cent in China. In fact, there have even been reports that the Chinese government has tried to intervene by persuading Redmond to continue support for the legacy OS.

China apparently warned Microsoft last December that halting sales of Windows 7 and pushing users towards the higher priced Windows 8 would only lead to more software piracy.

There’s no further detail on exactly what kind of support the web companies are planning to offer.

However, last month Microsoft itself appeared to bow to user pressure by agreeing to continue providing anti-malware updates for XP in its System Center Endpoint Protection, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection, Windows Intune and Security Essentials products.

This will last until 14 July 2015, after which time it really will be game over for XP users around the world … except perhaps China. ®

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