UK Government Spends Over $7.6 Million For Extended Windows XP Support

Over the years the UK government consistently chose to continue to stay on Windows XP in an effort to save money.  In fact a study done late last year showed the country’s National Health Service still had 85% of their computer running Windows XP.  Microsoft has been very open about their lifecycle plan to end support for Windows XP and this was announced over six years ago.  In fact Microsoft extended support for Win XP an additional three years to give enterprises and governments the time to make the transition.

With end-of-life for Windows XP only 4 days away a deal has been struck with Microsoft.  The 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.

You might think the government would be embarrassed for putting themselves in a position to sign this deal, but no, they are in fact bragging about how they saved money by negotiating this deal on behalf of the whole government instead of letting individual bureaucracies make separate deals with Microsoft.

Rob Wilmot, crown commercial representative for software at CCS, said: “We are delighted that this agreement will deliver projected savings in excess of £20m against standard pricing in the next 12 months. By combining demand, on behalf of central government departments and the wider public sector, Crown Commercial Service has demonstrated the benefits of government working as a single customer to achieve best value for the taxpayer, while continuing to build good working relationships with our technology suppliers.”

Microsoft imposed a condition with the extended Windows XP support.  Any bureaucracy wanting to take advantage of the extended support must have a “robust plan” in place to move off Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 within a year.

“This is a 12-month breathing space,” said Sarah Hurrel commercial director for IT and telecoms at the CCS. “No one wants to be on an end-of-life infrastructure. We will make sure people have plans that stand up to scrutiny.”

Microsoft said that the new deal should not mean that public sector bodies put off plans to migrate away from the older software products.

“Many organizations have made good progress in moving to a modern desktop operating system and have successfully mitigated the risk that running Windows XP will bring. However, some organizations will not have moved off Windows XP by 8 April,” said a Microsoft spokeswoman.  

We have made an agreement with the Crown Commercial Service to provide eligible UK public sector organizations with the ability to download security updates to Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 for one year until April 8 2015. Agreements such as these do not remove the need to move off Windows XP as soon as possible.”

Let’s hope this is lesson for proper planning, but where the government is involved I highly doubt it. Tax payers should be mad as hell about this news.

Source: Computer Weekly

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