The Chinese government has made the decision to stick with Windows even though the operating system has reached end-of-life. Senior official Yan Xiaohong commented that upgrading to Windows 8 would be “fairly expensive.” Windows 8 costs 888 yuan (£84 or $142) in China. However in some cases the government would have to buy new hardware to upgrade to Windows 8. China is not paying Microsoft for extended Windows XP support. Instead, Chinese security providers have released special protection products to patch up the system, which the government is now “appraising” for use. It is estimated that nearly 70% of computers in China are still using Windows XP. IE6 usage in China remains well over 20%, while the rest of the world remains under 1%. It is believed that 90% of Windows XP usage in China comes from pirated copies of the operating system. However, since  a crackdown in 2010 most government agencies ...

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Microsoft recently announced the general availability of Office 365 in China. It will be operated by 21Vianet, to offer Office 365 from local data centers within China. Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Azure, operated by 21Vianet in China last month. China is rapidly adopting cloud services – The Shanghai government, for example, is an early adopter of Office 365 operated by 21Vianet. Led by the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information, different departments of the Shanghai government explore the advanced productivity capabilities provided by Office 365 operated by 21Vianet in order to improve efficiency and build a service-oriented government. In addition, Office 365 operated by 21Vianet is used by the Shaanxi government to set up their IT infrastructure and foster regional growth in the Xi Xi’an new area. Commercial customers ICBC Leasing, Cigna & CMB, Dongfeng Renault, TCL were all at the Shanghai launch event as early ...

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Microsoft officially ended its support for Windows XP last week. More that 25% of the internet connected PCs are still running Windows XP and the vast majority of them are from enterprises and government agencies. Last week we reported that UK government has signed a deal with Microsoft to provide Windows XP support and security updates across the whole UK public sector for 12 months after regular support for the operating system ends on 8 April. The agreement is worth £5.548m (over $7.6 million), and covers critical and important security updates for Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003, all of which have reached end of life in Microsoft’s normal product cycles. In a similar way, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be paying Microsoft millions for an extra year of security patches. ZDNet today reported that Microsoft has reduced the price of such custom support for Windows XP customers. ...

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It is common practice for corporations to charge the government for data requests.  There is a cost associated with maintaining records and having a legal departments comply with thousands of government requests over a year.  A charge for a request is a balance that ensures governments do not go overboard in data requests.  In fact the government is suing Sprint for over-charging the government for data requests. Documents released by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) show that what appear to be invoices and emails between Microsoft’s Global Criminal Compliance team and the FBI’s Digital Intercept Technology Unit (DITU), and purport to show exactly how much money Microsoft charges DITU, in terms of compliance costs, when DITU provides warrants and court orders for customers’ data.  The SEA has been targeting Microsoft and mostly recently gained access to the Skype social media accounts. In December 2012, for instance, Microsoft emailed DITU a PDF ...

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Microsoft, via Corporate Vice President of  Microsoft Technology Policy David Tennenhouse, has released a statement about the US government relinquishing control of internet addresses.  As far as I’m concerned it’s a fairly hollow statement made only after it was certain transition would be made. The U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s recent announcement of its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multi-stakeholder community is a significant and welcome development. Unlike the other major international communications networks (e.g., the telephone system and postal systems), there has been no single government-led organization that has guided the evolution and growth of the Internet. Instead, “Internet governance” has been the responsibility of literally dozens of different organizations, involving academics, technologists, government and business working collaboratively to create and implement the key standards, shape business practices, and develop norms that have enabled the Internet to grow at an ...

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Microsoft has scored a big deal in Sweden with the Riksdag Administration buying into Windows 8, Office 2013, Skype, and Lync.  The new environment started rolling out in  March in the form of a pilot project with 100 participants and after the elections this fall, all 1,650 jobs in Parliament will receive the new software. The big Microsoft venture also means that employees will receive select phones and tablets based on Windows. The Swedish government will be developing apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. (Due to the translation it is unclear if the government is adopting Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 or Win8.1 Update 1) Mr Einarsson, head of it operations at the Parliament administration, says that the focus on mobility that began a few years ago are now going to be widened, which will offer the same experience to users regardless of which device they are using.  The ...

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  At Microsoft’s Federal Executive Forum, an annual event where people from around the federal government gather together to discuss how technology can be used to improve their workflow and others. As we are seeing in the other industries, Cloud computing is a hot topic among Federal agencies too. The popular public cloud services from Amazon, Salesforce, etc, does not suit their needs. As agencies explore moves to the cloud, many may have solutions already in place, and they need a partner who can help them leverage those, lower security risks and reduce training and implementation costs. In some cases, agencies may often be looking at some new combination of private cloud or even public or dedicated community cloud for government. Our hybrid cloud gives complex government environments the flexibility of working with us on their terms and within their architecture choice. Instead of coming to the table with predisposed ideas of what is best ...

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The UK government has issued security approval for public sector organisations to offer bring your own device (BYOD) schemes for employees to access data and applications using their own smartphones and tablets.  The new End User Devices Security and Configuration Guidance policy was issued this week by CESG, the information security arm of GCHQ. It follows numerous public bodies such as local councils seeking to introduce BYOD schemes to offer more flexible working for staff. The policy also provides detailed advice for a wide range of possible products and operating systems. Devices using Android 4.2, BlackBerry 10.1, Apple iOS6, Windows 7 and 8, Windows Phone 8 and RT, Ubuntu 12.04, OS X 10.8 and Google ChromeOS 26 are all on the list. Source: Gov.uk ...

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  Microsoft along with other technology industry leaders are now trying to bring transparency to the law enforcement requests they receive from various government agencies around the world. Microsoft has released their own law enforcement requests report for the first half of 2013. It lists all the countries where data are available. When you click a country, you can get the break up of no.of requests Microsoft received, rejected, disclosed content, etc,. Here are the highlights of the data revealed, Microsoft (including Skype) received 37,196 requests from law enforcement agencies potentially impacting 66,539 accounts in the first six months of this year.  This compares to 75,378 requests and 137,424 potential accounts in the whole of 2012. Approximately 77 percent of requests resulted in the disclosure of “non-content data”. No data at all was disclosed in nearly 21 percent of requests. Only a small number of requests result in the disclosure ...

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Microsoft has written a white paper for governments warning them of the ‘hidden costs’ in using android tablets.  In this time of economic downturn, a dwindling tax base, austerity measures and a the paradox of deficit spending governments are looking to save money where they can and it is understandable how appealing a cheap Chinese android tablet may be.  Consider the following: a cheap hooker and an expensive escort ultimately achieve the same goal, but you get what you pay for. A recent white paper from Microsoft compares Android vs Windows devices and shows that Windows devices are a superior choice, offering better security, a more productive experience for users AND an improved ability for IT to manage mobile devices WITHIN the boundaries of existing PC cost structure and technical infrastructure. The paper looks at four areas critical to public sector and education – Ease of Use, Security, Productivity and ...

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