Windows Enterprise Desktop

Apr 7 2014   10:20AM GMT

Windows XP “Retires” Tomorrow — or Does It?

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

A couple of interesting stories in the news of late have challenged the conventional understanding that Windows XP will finally, finally shuffle off the stage on April 8, just as the latest Windows 8.1 Update is pushed out via Windows Update. Recent reports indicate that some governments are taking the option to pay Microsoft to keep supporting their massive Windows XP installations for some time to come. Amidst lots of other online stories, Leon Spencer at ZDNet (“Dutch government pays millions to extend Microsoft XP support”) tells us that the Dutch government has struck a deal with MS to obtain support for somewhere between 34 and 40 thousand PCs running XP on the desks of Dutch civil servants. This comes on the heels of a deal announced last week between MS and the UK government for over $9 million to extend XP support for its numerous XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 installations through April 2015.


Windows XP is stubbornly clinging to life, especially within government and large institutional settings.

Industry observers have speculated that other governments — including the US Government, which probably still has tens to hundreds of thousands of PCs still running XP within numerous agencies, arms of (and contractors for) the military, and so forth — may have to cut similar deals with Microsoft to obtain extended support for installations they have been unable to upgrade in advance of tomorrow’s cutoff date. In fact, it looks increasingly like XP will continue to limp along for some time after its official termination date has come and gone. In this report on the situation, Ars Technica’s Sean Gallagher states that the current deals on record “…may be just a drop in the bucket in comparison to what the US government may have to pay for the hundreds of thousands of systems still running XP and other end-of-life software.”

To me, it looks something like the long-lived XP operating system may be morphing into “the OS that wouldn’t die.” It should be interesting to keep tabs on other life extension deals for XP that will undoubtedly be popping up in the weeks and months ahead.

[Note added 4/14/2014: Check out this story entitled “US Internal Revenue Service to pay Microsoft ‘millions’ for an extra year of security patches:” the IRS will pay MS $11.6 million out of its enforcement budget to keep its 60,000 or so XP PCs under the custom support umbrella through the end of 2014.]

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