Dutch government pays millions to extend Microsoft XP support

Dutch government pays millions to extend Microsoft XP support

Summary: The Dutch government has followed the United Kingdom’s lead, signing a multimillion Euro deal with Microsoft for the company to continue providing support for its Windows XP systems.

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The government of the Netherlands has struck a multimillion Euro deal with Microsoft to secure continued support for its Windows XP systems, according to a report published on 4 April in Dutch News.

According to the report, the deal will provide support for around 34,000 and 40,000 Dutch national government civil servants still using Windows XP machines until next January, when all government PCs are scheduled to be migrated to a new system.

Microsoft is ceasing all security updates and technical support for its Windows XP system on 8 April, leaving those still using the platform potentially exposed to security threats.

The move by the Dutch government follows a similar deal the software giant struck with the United Kingdom government.

It was announced last week that the UK government agreed to pay more than £5.6 million to Microsoft to continue its support for Windows XP by one year.

The deal is expected to see Microsoft provide security updates for XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003 software being used on UK public sector PCs.

The UK government said it expects the majority of its organisations to migrate away from the XP platform by April 2015.

According to Microsoft, people running PCs with Windows XP after 8 April should consider their PCs unprotected and should to try to migrate to a more recent supported operating system.

In a statement, Microsoft said millions of businesses and individuals throughout the Asia Pacific region are still using the 12-year-old operating system. According to Jason Lim, Microsoft’s general manager of Windows business group, these users could be exposed to security risks.

"It's really critical that consumers who still own Windows XP devices recognise that it's not just about upgrading to something new," said Lim in a statement last month.

"This is about protecting your PC from security threats, especially if you are using the internet. Windows XP wasn't designed for today's mobile, always-connected lives, or for protecting businesses and individuals from the millions of new online security threats that have emerged," he said.

Back in October 2012, the Australian government warned its departments that Microsoft would be discontinuing its support for Windows XP Service Pack 3 and MS Office 2003 from 8 April this year.

In a statement published by the Department of Defence's Cyber Security Operations Centre in 2012, the government told its agencies they would be vulnerable to attacks if they did not upgrade from the Windows XP system by April 2014.

However, the government also told its agencies that — for a premium — they could sign a deal with Microsoft directly for continued support of the XP system.

"Agencies unable to upgrade by 8 April 2014 may have the option of entering into a custom support contact with Microsoft. The cost of custom support is significantly higher than regular support and will continue to rise," the statement said.

While the Australian government might have been onto the migration away from Windows XP years ago, banks around the world are still using the Windows XP Embedded system in many of their ATMs.

However, Microsoft has given banks using XP Embedded until January 2016 to upgrade before it cuts support.

Microsoft began rolling out its latest Windows 8.1 update on 2 April.

Topics: Microsoft, Government AU, Windows

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Leon covers enterprise technology and start-ups from ZDNet's Sydney newsroom.

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86 comments
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  • wow

    People are even throwing money at MS for support.
    Yep, MS is doomed.
    warboat
    • And when that fails...

      It is past time to convert to something better.
      jessepollard
    • Microsoft is not telling the truth

      As a programmer I know that all the various DLL's etc which are at risk are being used
      in the modern MS systems like Windows 7 and 8. This is to make sure that older programs are still compatible. Therefore all the risk that exists in XP has been migrated to Windows 7 and 8 which are absolutely no more secure than XP. Microsoft just wants to make money by pretending it is otherwise. You will not see any reduction in monthly updates from Microsoft, Windows 7 and 8 (explorer) , in fact down time due to system restarts will increase.
      -Sparks
      • All of the risk

        Do you really believe that?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • You're right, pdharrison, but

        it's also not fair for MSFT to provide updates for free. I would rather they just offer a paid update. I'm staying on XP with five machines. Am staying on Win7 with another six. Am still on Win98 with five more. Don't need the Win98 support, those machines BECAME stable when the updates stopped. Same, for XP, actually. It's the updates that cause me the most problems, and they continue on Win7.

        Even so, it would be a moneymaker for MSFT and good for the client, if they would just segment their knowledgeable staff for each OS, figure out the fixed and marginal costs, then from that develop a per-machine annual subscription price for support. My guess is, that price could be $50 per machine, since the infrastructure for MSFT, is already in place. I'd gladly pay $50 per year per machine.

        They could then tier that model of paid support, to add features. A tier 2 support could add features fixing what the OS doesn't do well, like fix XP's inability to read/write DVDs (which it cannot do even from Win7-made DVDs, despite the false promise in Win7 help, that XP could read the DVDs Win7 writes to).

        Finally, a tier 3 support could be had, by passing through to the old OS, the improvements in the later OSes.

        Pricing for Tier 2 and Tier3, I don't know. But it shouldn't be more than $100-$150 per year per machine. That ends up being FAR cheaper for the enterprise versus migration and retraining costs.

        It would be a win-win for MSFT and client. Why MSFT is so deaf to the idea (for I'm not the first to bring it up), I've no idea. Management is bad at MSFT, that's the only conclusion I can draw.
        brainout
        • Your bang on brainout

          I agree with you 100% and I have also let Microsoft know my opinion that millions of
          people would have been prepared to pay for continued support, why MS should not wish to go down this road is anybody's guess.
          -Sparks
      • You're right, someone isn't telling the truth

        but are we sure that's MS?

        "Therefore all the risk that exists in XP has been migrated to Windows 7 and 8 which are absolutely no more secure than XP"

        Now that was hardly what I would call a "truthful statement", and we both know it.
        William.Farrel
        • Microsoft has a long history of lies.

          And underhanded dealing...

          All you would have to do is a diff between the binaries and see how many show up besides just the compile date. There COULD be differences in the compiler used, or optimization levels... even possible for them to have removed time wasting loops...

          But I forgot, that would violate your licenses...
          jessepollard
        • Prove me wrong

          Well prove me wrong and tell me exactly how windows 7 and 8 is more secure than
          XP.
          -Sparks
          • Studies have shown this

            Seriously, just look at any security study done in the last few years.
            Michael Alan Goff
        • semantics

          Hi :)
          It's only that different people use the word "absolute" in different ways. For scientists the meaning is a tad more strict. On long car journeys my buddies exclaim the roads are absolutely empty and i grumble if there is any car or debris or anything within visual range. For them they just mean they don't have to worry about anything much.

          Win7 and 8 have lots of extra security plastered on top but still haven't fixed some of the foundations. So absolute is not quite the perfect word but since 3rd party software and drivers have often been used as attack vectors and since those vectors are still vaguely available it does raise concerns about just how secure Win8 really is.
          Regards from
          Tom :)
          Tom6
      • You don't know what you are talking about

        Having had access to the Windows source code for Windows XP and Windows 7, I can state categorically, that their were huge changes in the DLL's. I don't know what you program but it certainly isn't serious Windows programming.

        I've been writing "system level", i.e. drivers and service for Windows for 20 years, and the changes from XP are huge. While I will be the first to say I don't enjoy having to change my code the level of security increases are very significant.
        oldsysprog
        • ;-) thanks for the confidence booster

          Here is an extract from a recent MS security Bulletin:
          MS14-013

          - Affected Software:
          - Windows XP Service Pack 3
          - Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2
          - Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2
          - Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2
          - Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems
          - Windows Vista Service Pack 2
          - Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 2
          - Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 2
          (Windows Server 2008 Server Core installation not affected)
          - Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2
          (Windows Server 2008 Server Core installation not affected)
          - Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 1
          - Windows 7 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1
          - Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1
          (Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core installation not affected)
          - Windows 8 for 32-bit Systems
          - Windows 8 for x64-based Systems
          - Windows 8.1 for 32-bit Systems
          - Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems
          - Windows Server 2012
          (Windows Server 2012 Server Core installation not affected)
          - Windows Server 2012 R2
          (Windows Server 2012 R2 Server Core installation not affected)

          Where are the latest versions of Windows any better than XP? This applies basically
          all MS security bulletins.
          -Sparks
          • Lack of logic there, I'm afraid

            Yes, some components inside Windows include some code inside that has remained essentially the same across multiple versions of Windows, so that if a vulnerability is found it has to be patched in multiple versions. It is a huge leap to say that therefore the latest versions are no more secure than old ones. That is simply not true.

            There have been major design changes, some under the covers and some visible (e.g. UAC), that make newer versions much more secure than XP, and progressively more secure than their predecessors. The process actually began in the XP era (with XP Service Pack 2), and has continued ever since.
            CageySee
          • If it has a security flaw then it has a security flaw

            If it has the same code, it has the same bugs. Bugs or security flaws exist in code. If code is the same then they both share the same flaw. Windows will always be insecure because of it's basic model of a single user computer. That will not change in 8.1 so 8.1 is just as insecure as Windows has ever been.
            Tim Jordan
          • False statement

            Windows is much more secure than it was last year, and this version is more secure than the last. Saying anything to the contrary is turning a blind eye to facts.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • Some problems remain

            but that isn't the same as what you said prior.
            Michael Alan Goff
    • How long before XP extended support revenues exceed Windows 8 revenues?

      Ballmer's legacy.
      Programmer1028
      • Likely won't happen

        Eventually people will get tired of constantly paying for patches and move to something else.
        Michael Alan Goff
  • Shaking my head at this!

    Businesses and governments knew about the XP end of life, yet they for some reason acted surprised about it. About half of the $7,673,120.00 the Dutch government paid for extended XP support probably could have been used toward Windows 7 machines, I mean hello. There is no excuse for why, especially governments, haven't moved off of XP yet other than $$$.
    Pollo Pazzo