UK pays Microsoft $9.1 million (£5.548 million) to extend support for Windows XP

(Photo: Christine Matthews)Twilight over London from New Zealand High Commission.

The United Kingdom (UK) has signed a contract with Microsoft Corporation to fend off problems arising from Microsoft ending support for Windows XP on April 8.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will maintain critical and important security updates for Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 until April 8, 2015. A Cabinet Office spokesperson said the deal will provide continuity for all eligible government and public sector organizations while they migrate to alternative operating systems.

The deal was signed by Crown Commercial Service (CCS), the new legal entity replacing Government Procurement Service. CCS represents the government's efforts to procure as a single customer to benefit from its scale.

The Cabinet Office spokesperson said the Microsoft deal was an excellent example of collaborative purchasing. He noted that it achieves a multi-million pound saving compared with individual public sector organizations negotiating separate support deals with the vendor.

Sarah Hurrell, commercial director for IT and telecoms at the CCS, said the extended support gave public sector organizations some breathing space to migrate away from the end-of-life Microsoft products.

"Plans are already in place for public sector organizations to migrate to other operating systems over the next 12 months. This deal provides vital continuity. It is anticipated that the majority of organizations will have completed upgrades by April 2015," said the Cabinet Office spokesperson.

In September 2013, EHI Intelligence revealed that 85 percent of National Health Service desktops were still running on Windows XP.

Windows XP is a personal computer operating system produced by Microsoft as part of Windows NT family of operating systems. Development of XP began in the late 1990s. XP was intended specifically for mainstream consumer use.

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