China this week banned Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system from government computers, catching the American technology company by surprise. The ban was issued under a government notice about the use of energy-efficient technology, but China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday that the move was motivated by security concerns that arose after Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. According to Xinhua, the majority of Chinese government computer still run Windows XP, and the operating system commands 70 percent of China's market.

"the Chinese government obviously cannot ignore the risks."

"Despite major Chinese software security companies having promised to provide technical assistance to guard against risks, Windows XP users have remained fearful about potential dangers such as hacker attacks," Xinhua reported. "And the Chinese government obviously cannot ignore the risks of running OS without guaranteed technical support."

In an email statement to The Verge, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company was "surprised" to see its new operating system banned, and that it will continue to sell Windows 7 to government clients until a resolution is reached.

"Microsoft has been working proactively with the Central Government Procurement Center and other government agencies through the evaluation process to ensure that our products and services meet all government procurement requirements," the statement reads. "We have been and will continue to provide Windows 7 to government customers. At the same time we are working on the Windows 8 evaluation with relevant government agencies."