Dutch government pays millions to extend Microsoft XP support

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.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

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.

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