UK Government Once Paid Millions To Microsoft To Keep Windows XP Running After Failing To Upgrade Windows XP

12 years after Microsoft released Windows XP in October 2001, Windows XP was retired on April 8, 2014. Though Microsoft spent more than 5 years, since September 2007, constantly warning customers about this change, many organizations failed to upgrade before the deadline. These organisations include the UK and Dutch governments.

As a result, they approached Microsoft for an extension deal and Microsoft agreed to offer them custom support deals. At what cost?

"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 8 April 2015,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

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The cost of the deal

In 2014, the UK government paid an extension cost of 5.5 million pounds and the Dutch government too paid millions for the extension of Windows XP. Surprised, huh? Here is more. Some of the organisations who took the deal include:

  • New Zealand government
  • US Navy
  • Australian government agencies such as Queensland Health and air navigation service provider Airservices Australia.

Though the price of extension doubled every year, the Dutch government even extended the deal into 2015.

Wasn’t it easy to just upgrade?

By now you are asking yourself why they couldn’t just upgrade instead of making multimillion extension deals? They were given seven years warning to upgrade.

For the UK National Health Service (NHS), that meant upgrading about 600 000 computers. Therefore the NHS took it for granted that Microsoft would change its mind on ending XP support.

In the end they were saved by the costly support extension deal which gave the NHS and other government departments enough breathing room to migrate from Windows XP.

"The NHS is very grateful for this deal," said Sarah Hurrell of the CCS, according to Computer Weekly.

Five years later, in 2019, the NHS has admitted it was still running Windows XP on about 2 300 of its 1.4 million computers, though Windows XP had stopped receiving security for five years.


Sydney Chako

Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Sytech Learning Academy. From Junior Secondary School to Tertiary Level Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Science.

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