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United Kingdom Government Microsoft Upgrades Windows IT

UK Government Pays Microsoft £5.5M For Extended Support of Windows XP 341

whoever57 (658626) writes "The UK Government has signed a contract worth £5.5M (almost $9M) for extended support and security updates for Windows XP for 12 months after April 8. The deal covers XP, Exchange 2003 and Office 2003 for users in central and local government, schools and the National Health Service. The NHS is in need of this deal because it was estimated last September that 85% of the NHS's 800,000 computers were running XP."
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UK Government Pays Microsoft £5.5M For Extended Support of Windows XP

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  • TCO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kevingolding2001 ( 590321 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @03:35AM (#46667973)
    I wonder if these sorts of figures will be mentioned in the next "Total Cost of Ownership" study done by Microsoft.
    • RE: TCO (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mr_Plattz ( 1589701 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @04:02AM (#46668049)

      No, why would they be mentioned? The [in]competence of governments (or any customers) should not factor into this calculation.

      What should be happening here is the people responsible for technology at the NHS should be getting fired for leaving operation systems in such a state. Still running Exchange 2003? Really? That's just straight negligence.

      My company is going through this same problem, but lucky we have been half competent enough to at least use the business risk as a mean for operational change. Sounds like the NHS simply thought, "well, it's not our money."

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        Still running Exchange 2003? Really? That's just straight negligence.

        While I agree with that (even the name tells you what should be done with it - swap it with something else) you seem that have missed that "cutting waste" is the way people associated with government services get promoted. Improvements are seen as an unfair burden on the taxpayer.
        Oddly enough people who talk of "running government like a business" are the first to NOT run it like a business which would see upgrades as spending necessary f

    • by golodh ( 893453 )
      I think they will. And it may well turn out to be a very cheap option compared to the alternatives.

      When you think of it, paying 6 million pounds to postpone the conversion of a few million XP boxes (which the UK government isn't yet ready to do) for a year or risk even greater vulnerability than XP has now, isn't expensive.

      Of course considerations like these are usually lost on Open Source advocates whose mental horizon is limited to the idea of installing Open Source operating systems on PC's without

  • Cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SQL Error ( 16383 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @04:58AM (#46668193)

    £5.5M for a year's support for hundreds of thousands of of XP systems is extremely good value, and far cheaper than any other option.

    Of course, they'll still be in the same position a year from now. But in government, if you pass the buck for long enough, it becomes someone else's problem.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @05:32AM (#46668279)

    No excuses! IF the UK government can pay for continued support, that means you still have to develop and test the updates anyways.,

    You should offer users (who are not upgrading anyways) continued security updates for $20 per XP seat per year.

    • I was more thinking, at least for UK users, why can't the government arrange for MS to make those patches publicly available? After all it's tax payer's money they use for it. And that means all of the UK citizens contribute to it, one way or another. It'd only be fair for those patches to be available for the rest of them as well.

      After which it's of course just a small step to make it available to the world - and do the Internet at large a big favour.

  • 800K PCs is a lot of stuff.

    I wonder if anybody tried to calculate the costs of migrating that to a server farm with XP running in VMs?

    If they use old hardware , then the RAM shouldn't be a problem.

    If they use mostly the office software, then the CPU performance also shouldn't be a problem.

    One can theoretically pack few dozens of those on a single blade.

  • Hell, if you paid me nine million dollars, I'd support the damned thing!
  • It's okay! Lots of the NHS has upgraded ... to Vista.

    Yeah, I was so happy going into a consultation at Whipps Cross and seeing they were running Vista.

  • From the vaults: []

    REAL VIRTUALITY, Seattle, Thursday 2099 (NNN) — Microsoft Corporation has announced a limited one-off extension of availability of its Windows XP operating system to April 2101 after criticism from large customers and analysts. This is the fifty-sixth extension of XP’s availability since 2008.

    Through successive releases of Microsoft’s flagship Windows operating system, demand for XP has remained an important factor for businesses relying on stable XP-specific software and installations, who have pushed back strongly against the software company’s attempts to move them to later versions. Windows administration skills have become rare in recent years and consultants have demanded high fees. Reviving Windows administrators from cryogenic freezing has proven insufficient to fill the market gap, as almost all begged to work on COBOL instead.

    “Windows XP is currently in the extremely very prolonged super-extended support phase and Microsoft encourages customers to migrate to Windows for Neurons 2097 as soon as feasible,” said William Gates V, CEO and great-grandson of the company founder. “Spare change?”

    Microsoft Corporation, along with Monsanto Corporation and the RIAA, exists as a protected species in the Seattle Memorial Glass Crater Bad Ideas And Warnings To The Future National Park in north-west Washington on the radioactive remains of what was once the planet Earth, under the protection of our Linux-based superintelligent robot artificial intelligence overlords. Company revenues for 2098 were over $15.

  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @03:38PM (#46671607)

    Considering just how many Windows XP systems the must have, with a sizable fraction of them being the sort you CAN’T upgrade (due to there being no Linux or Win 7 version of some software packages, literally or practically), this was probably the best option.

    From Microsoft’s perspective, they want to stop supporting an ancient OS. So it’s reasonable for them to charge for additional support. It’s actually probably the UK government that got the better deal here, since Microsoft would be able to function a bit more efficiently if they could just chuck it.

    Someone else mentioned DRM for old software that you can’t virtualize, like those old printer port dongles that were required to run some software. I don’t know UK law, but I’m betting it’s illegal right now to crack or reverse engineer those things, like the DMCA in the US. If I were in parliament, I’d be about ready to propose a bill to make it legal to crack them in just this sort of situation, where you’re not violating the original intent of the license agreement. Just one license to one machine. In some cases, the DRM was moronic anyway, because the software is useless without the much more expensive piece of equipment it was attached to.

    It goes both ways, though. At a company I once worked for, we sold some recording software that worked with our graphics cards. It turns out that since it was just an X11 extension, it would work with other graphics cards, so one govermnent entity started making unlicensed copies and using them with competitors’ cards. We were pissed. We were pissed that they were violating the licensing agreement, and we were pissed that we had to add some bullshit license key system to ensure that they complied with our contractual agreements. We didn’t believe in it, and we didn’t want to waste the resources on it. (And we all hated things like Flex LM with a passion. Most unreliable and brittle system on the planet.) But it was easier than trying to sue them or even just argue with them. We used a technological means to make it super inconvenient (not not impossible) to not comply with already-agreed licensing terms, and they kept buying more of our products without so much as a minor disagreement (because they knew they were in the wrong in the first place and were in no position to complain). It also means that when they want to migrate a copy of the software from an old machine that died to a new one, it’s inconvenient for both them and us. But they made their bed.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.