US Navy Pays Millions For Windows XP Support

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American navy keeps 100,000 computers afloat with deal for extended Windows XP support

The US Navy has signed a deal with Microsoft to keep the ancient Windows XP operating system supported on 100,000 computers.

Windows XP is still in use by many governments agencies and businesses around the world, despite the fact that it was first launched fourteen years ago in late 2001.

In The Navy

The US Navy deal was revealed by IDG News, which reported that the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command signed a $9.1m (£5.8m) contract earlier this month for continued access to security patches for Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2003 and Windows Server 2003.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command apparently runs the Navy’s communications and information networks, and the entire contract could be worth up to $30.8m (£19.5m) and extend into 2017.

Windows XP checkerMicrosoft stopped supporting the venerable OS on 8 April 2014, putting an end to its monthly security patches and bug fixes. This potentially opened up security risks for those organisations still using Windows XP.

It seems the US Navy began its migration away from Windows XP back in 2013 to Windows 7, but it still has approximately 100,000 workstations running XP or other Microsoft software, as of May 2015.

And to make matters worse, it seems that those XP workstations may be located on US navy ships. An unclassified Navy document says that the Microsoft applications affect “critical command and control systems” on ship and land-based legacy systems.

These workstations are thought to be connected to classified US government networks.

“The Navy relies on a number of legacy applications and programs that are reliant on legacy Windows products,” Steven Davis, a spokesman for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command was quoted by IDG as saying. “Until those applications and programs are modernized or phased out, this continuity of services is required to maintain operational effectiveness.”

“A plan for migrating to current and supported capabilities has been developed and is being executed,” Davis reportedly said.

Extended Support

The US Navy is not the only American government branch to pay Redmond for extended Windows XP support. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paid Microsoft to support its 58,000 Windows XP systems back in April 2014.

And on this side of the pond, things are not much better. A freedom of information (FoI) request by Citrix last autumn found that all NHS trusts were still using XP in some form, with 74 percent planning to migrate in March of this year.

Another FoI request recently revealed that London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) still has more than 35,000 systems on Windows XP.

Last month, technology bosses at the British government opted not to renew the extended support agreement for the ancient Windows XP operating system.

What do you know about Windows XP? Try our quiz!


Author: Tom Jowitt
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