THE UK GOVERNMENT has bought a lifeline for Windows XP ahead of the software's 8 April cut-off date, handing Microsoft £5.5m to continue supporting the operating system for an additional year.
The government's £5.48m will ensure that Microsoft continues to provide critical and important security updates for Windows XP, Microsoft Office 2003 and Exchange 2003, and comes just five days ahead of the operating system's End of Life.
Crown Commercial Service (CCS) - a new cabinet office department that handles public sector purcasing and commercial operations - said in a statement, "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, whilst continuing to build good working relationships with our technology suppliers."
Microsoft wasn't quite so chuffed, and while the deal is good news for those clinging to Windows XP, the firm has urged users to upgrade as soon as possible, likely in order to boost Windows 8's disappointing market share.
A Microsoft spokesperson told The INQUIRER, "Many organisations 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 organisations will not have moved off Windows XP by 8 April.
"We have made an agreement with the Crown Commercial Service to provide eligible UK public sector organisations 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."
It's worth noting that while Microsoft has promised support for Windows XP until 8 April 2015, the CCS tells us that the deal extends until 15 April. We have been in touch with Microsoft to clairify this.
The NHS is quite pleased about the deal, and said in a statement that it is "very grateful" for the deal, which is not surprising given that 85 percent of its 800,000 PCs are still running Microsoft's obsolescent operating system.
For those still running Windows XP that aren't lucky enough to be covered for an additional 12 months, Malwarebytes last week announced a security service that will continue to protect users of the operating system. µ