New Zealand Govt stuck on Windows XP

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New Zealand Govt stuck on Windows XP

Paying Microsoft millions for extended support.

New Zealand Governent authorities remain firmly tied to the Windows XP operating system no longer officially supported by Microsoft, new figures show.

Opposition party Labour obtained the the figures under the Official Information Act (OIA) from district health boards and ministries, with the documents noting slow progress in migrating to newer versions of Windows, and departments racking up high fees for extended support for XP from Microsoft.

There could be well over 40,000 computers running Windows XP in New Zealand Government ministries and district health boards, the documents show.

As the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) refused to say how many terminals it has operating Windows XP, the exact number of computers running the obsolete operating system across the national government isn't known.

However the number of Windows XP systems in New Zealand Government agencies is high when compared to more populous countries such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Earlier this year, media reports placed the number of Windows XP licences remaining within UK government departments at around 20,000, and in the Netherlands, between 34,000 to 40,000, with millions being paid in extended support charges to Microsoft by these administrations.

As of April this year, the New Zealand ministries have racked up at least NZ$851,160 (A$786,700) in charges to Microsoft for extended support since the software giant ceased automatically patching the obsolete system in April. Once again, the exact number is likely to be higher, as the DIA and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) withheld disclosure of how much they have paid to Microsoft.

The country's district health boards remain big users of Windows XP with just under 20,000 machines still running the unsupported operating system. This has cost the DHBs over NZ$1 million (A$980,000) in extended support charges.

In both cases, Labour says there have been cost overruns in migrating to Windows 7, adding further expense to the above figures.

One Windows 8.1 upgrade project commenced in August 2013 cost the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) NZ$2.31 million (A$2.16 million). MPI upgraded 2780 devices at a cost of NZ$830 (A$775) each, with Labour pointing out that the retail cost of a Windows 8.1 license is around NZ$249 (A$232.52).

iTnews was referred by ICT minister Amy Adams' office to the DIA which declined to answer questions on why NZ Government departments are still using Windows XP to such a large extent, and what the plan is to migrate to a newer operating system

The office the Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dunne, instead lodged a OIA request for iTnews' questions on June 17. To date, no further response has been received from the DIA.

DIA OIA request ITnews

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