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UK and Netherlands Paid Microsoft to Extend Windows XP Support


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The UK and the Netherlands signed separate deals with the countries’ public sectors seeking more time to migrate from 12-year-old OS. The countries’ governments have agreed to pay Microsoft millions to extend support for Windows XP past the 8 April cutoff date.

For example, the UK extension cost the country £5.5 million, but is only valid for one year. In 2015 public-sector users will have to move to newer software anyway. The Crown Commercial Service has paid the American software company to provide important security software updates for Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 until 8 April 2015.

The matter is that the transition would require the upgrade of thousands of computers in the country. For example, it was estimated in September 2013 that 85% of the 800,000 computers in the NHS alone were still running on XP, 14% on Windows 7, and 1% on Windows 8. NHS managers were hoping that the software giant would change its mind on ending XP support, and are now very grateful for its deal with the government. Now the support extension will give the NHS and other agencies more time to migrate from Windows XP. A lot of computers in the public sector are still on Windows XP, although the plans are to make sure that most of them are moved to another OS over the next year.

The Dutch Interior Ministry also negotiated a separate multimillion-euro deal with Microsoft for 40,000 computers still running XP across the government-owned PCs.

Microsoft points out that wider extended support for Windows XP, which was born in 2001, ended on the 8th of April 2014 after the OS was removed from mainstream support back in 2009. This date was announced seven years ago, giving the government plenty of time to migrate to newer software, but it still hasn’t yet done.

The software giant will keep releasing virus protection for Windows XP via its Security Essentials app for another 15 months. Despite the ended support, up to 25% of machines in businesses and the public sector are still running Windows XP, leaving them vulnerable to compromise without continued support.

The UK’s central deal saved the government more than £20 million compared with individual departments arranging their own deals with Microsoft. However, the extended support deal comes with a demand that computers be migrated from XP, Office 2003 or Exchange 2003 within 12 months. The UK government expects most of the computers to be upgraded from Windows XP by next April. But what will they upgrade to?

The statistics say that Windows 8 recently hit 200 million licenses sold, which is comparable with Windows Vista, but still well behind Windows 7. The latter had sold over 300 million in the same time after its release.

Moreover, the slow Windows 8 sales even forced the computer maker HP to offer Windows 7 again, saying that it was back due to popular demand. So, at the moment, public-sector bodies and enterprise XP users can either upgrade to Windows 7, with its familiar user interface complete with Start menu, or to Windows 8, which can confuse many people with its use of a new “Start Screen” and large tiled interface.