China has banned the use of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system within government, in a bid to "ensure security" after the expiration of Windows XP.
Windows XP has a 70 per cent market share in China, but Microsoft ended support for the system in April, causing panic in many quarters.
But while the Netherlands and UK governments signed deals for Microsoft to continue supporting the system for a further year, the Chinese government is now focusing on developing its own operating system based on Linux, Chinese news agency Xinhua reports.
From now on, all desktops, laptops and tablet PCs to be purchased by central government bodies in China must be installed with an operating system other than Windows 8 - this is for fear of being locked into a foreign operating system that may be subject to discontinued support at any time, as has occurred with Windows XP.
The prohibition of Windows 8 is only within government circles and does not affect consumer and private-sector use in China.
On the day XP expired, Gartner estimated that one-third of organisations globally still had more than 10 per cent of their systems on XP.
Microsoft warned that users who continued to use XP without support would be prone to viruses and hacking. Antivirus companies are updating their software running on XP PCs until 2015, but experts have suggested that the attacks will be highly sophisticated, requiring support from Microsoft to continually fix bugs.