US Navy pays Microsoft millions to stay on Windows XP

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US Navy pays Microsoft millions to stay on Windows XP

Extends deal to keep 14 year old operating system supported.

The US Navy will pay Microsoft at least US$9 million (A$11.6 million) to continue providing it patches for the company's obsolete Windows XP operating system.

Microsoft ended support for the 14 year old OS last April, but has offered to provide custom support for those stuck on Windows XP at an ever-increasing price.

Customers had been warned by Microsoft since September 2007 that the operating system would be retired in April 2014.

But for those organisations that failed to upgrade prior to the XP end of life date, Microsoft offers custom support deals at a price that doubles every year.

The US Navy this week revealed it had signed a three-year deal for critical hotfixes and patches for Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2003 and Server 2003.

It is in the process of replacing Windows XP but requires the extended support in the meantime for a number of legacy applications that run on the OS.

There are provisions in the deal to extend to June 2017 if necessary, in which case the value of the contract would reach around US$31 million.

The US Navy is just one of a number of government agencies and organisations slow to move off the retired OS.

The Dutch government last year paid millions to continue support for the OS, and this year extended the deal further by six months to allow more time to migrate a remaining 5000 computers out of a total 40,000.

Similarly, the British government opted for custom support last year, but recently decided against extending the contract after achieving "good progress" in migrating off Windows XP.

Across the Tasman, the NZ government similarly paid Microsoft to extend support.

Locally, Microsoft started asking organisations for $200 per user per year for custom support for Windows XP last year - a price that doubles each year in order to pressure users to migrate. Custom patches for an individual organisation also come with a hefty $50,000 price tag.

Queensland Health is one of a number of Australian government agencies still to migrate away from the old OS.

The agency's newly appointed CTO Colin McCririck gave the department 12 months to shift 50,000 PCs off Windows XP only last month.

Government air navigation services provider Airservices Australia is similarly working to a 12-month timeframe to move the organisation to Windows 8.1 and Office 2013.

According to internet technology market share statistics firm NetMarketShare, Windows XP still holds a sizeable portion of the desktop OS market at 14.6 percent.

The 14 year old OS holds a greater share than Windows 8.1, which weighs in at a shade under 13 percent of the market. It was released in October 2013.

Microsoft's Windows 7 remains the dominant operating system in NetMarketShare's estimate, holding over 57 percent of the market.

Do you know of any Australian organisations still running Windows XP? Get in touch.

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