Chinese computer users may consider themselves lucky for getting Windows 8 earlier than everybody else, but Microsoft has many more surprises prepared for this particular market.The Redmond-based technology company won’t sell the physical box of Windows 8 in China, as it struggles to reduce software piracy of its software in the country.
Instead, Chinese buyers will be allowed to make the move to Windows 8 via Microsoft’s online upgrade service which enables previous Windows buyers to deploy the new operating system at a smaller price.
In addition, Windows 8 will also be pre-installed on new computers and laptops, so buying new systems from authorized retailers also brings a genuine copy of the OS.
“After having talked to many customers, Microsoft has made the decision to simplify the distribution model of Windows in China, by taking all physical Windows media off the market,” a Microsoft spokesperson told ComputerWorld.
Microsoft has long tried to reduce piracy of its software in China and even asked the local government to support its efforts, as the company discovered that some state-owned firms relied on counterfeited versions of Windows and Office.
Prohibiting the sale of physical media for Windows 8 however is one of Microsoft’s harshest decisions when it comes to the fight against software pirates. It appears that pirated versions of Microsoft’s previous Windows iterations are still distributed in China and some retailers are even selling them for a bargain price.
The same happened in 2009, when Microsoft was getting ready to release the Windows 7 operating system. Pirated copies of the software could be found in China’s stores a few months before the official release, most of them full of malware and malicious files.