Deal will see XP security patches issued to public sector workers until April 8th 2015

Microsoft to provide extended Windows XP support to UK Government

The UK Government and Microsoft have sealed a deal which will see Windows XP support extended by a year for public sector workers.

Under the deal, Microsoft will provide security patches for Windows XP until April 8th 2015 – exactly one year after widespread support ends for the aging operating system.

Security fixes will similarly be issued for Microsoft’s Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 software, which will lose support alongside XP.

According to The Register, the final price of the deal between the Government and Microsoft was valued at £5.584 million, with savings generated by the extended support predicted to be around £20 million.

The extended support won’t be provided automatically, with departments and other bodies having to apply for inclusion in the scheme.

“We are pleased to have signed an agreement with Microsoft to maintain critical and important security updates,” commented a spokesperson for the Cabinet Office.

Microsoft reiterated in a statement that “agreements such as these do not remove the need to move off Windows XP as soon as possible.”

The news of the deal comes alongside the announcement that the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has decided to deal with the end of support for Windows XP by migrating to Google’s Chrome OS platform.

The Borough has started a migration project which will see over 4,000 Windows desktops and laptops replaced by Google Chromeboxes and Chromebooks, with the scheme predicted to take full effect by June.

The Borough projects savings of approximately £400,000 on the back of adopting Chrome devices, which tend to be cheaper than comparable Windows machines.

Rupert Hay-Campbell, ICT and information governance officer at the council, revealed that the Borough will pay around £200 for each Chrome device, compared with £340 to £350 for a Windows desktop and £500 to £600 for a Windows laptop.

Despite moving away from Microsoft hardware, the Borough won’t be abandoning the tech giant’s products just yet.

"At this stage we’re still going to be using [Microsoft] Office, Outlook and Exchange, but we’re planning to look at a move to a cloud-based productivity and email tool later in the year – and that would clearly be an evaluation of Google Apps and Office 365," explained Hay-Campbell.

Check out PCR’s guides to how to cope with the end of support for Windows XP and which products and services to use to migrate ahead of the April 8th switch-off date.

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