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Windows XP: How Much Is It Worth To You?

Windows XP was Microsoft’s most popular operating system ever. It’s been 12 years since its original launch and it still serves almost 38% of the world’s computers, which is more than a third. Many people, especially businesses, don’t want to upset the long and uninterrupted use of Windows XP. Unfortunately, support for Windows XP ends tomorrow, April the 8th. Running Windows XP after tomorrow will be just as risky as running through a mine field.

There will be some significant changes in store for a lot of people whether they take action or not. 95% of US ATMs run on Windows XP, meanwhile 96% of schools still use XP. As we approach the EOL date for Windows XP, we will begin to see people who are not quite ready for the change, and are willing to pay through the nose to keep it from happening to them. The question becomes, “How much is Windows XP worth to you?”

The Price

Microsoft has a listed price for supporting the soon to-be-extinct Windows XP, but it comes with some stipulations. Microsoft ultimately wants to get rid of it entirely, not keep it on an I.V. for another 12 years. So, Microsoft has offered a deal of $200 per desktop for one year of support and updates. The main thing required by Microsoft is the intent to migrate to other options, instead of using the newly bought grace period to delay migration entirely. Microsoft made a statement, saying, “Agreements such as these do not remove the need to move off Windows XP as soon as possible.” Microsoft offers the deal gladly, but it won’t be support that is put out by default on all PCs used by government entities or bank entities. Each and every group has to subscribe to Microsoft’s services individually. It is suspected that the majority of government entities will be eligible for this support from Microsoft.

The Dutch

It was recently announced that the Dutch government was also heavily dependent on Windows XP. As of April 4th, the Netherlands’ government paid multiple million Euros to Microsoft for continued support for its product Windows XP. Apparently there are 34-40.000 Dutch government computers that are still using XP and will continue to use them till next January, at which time they will have a prescheduled upgrade to a new system. This will secure Dutch government files which would have been vulnerable to attack because of the April 8 EOL date. This action was taken after the British government made a similar deal with Microsoft for their equally needed service.

The British

Last week the United Kingdom made a £5.6 million deal with Microsoft so they could extend their Windows XP support for one more year. This deal with provide the British government computers with driver updates, security updates, and fixes for Office 2003 and Exchange 2003. Although it is not guaranteed, the government intends to update its systems and be clear of the Window XP operating system by April of 2015. The British seem to be a little less prepared than the Australians, whose government warned its departments about the end of support for Windows XP Service Pack 3 and Microsoft Office 2003 back in October of 2012. They told their agencies that they would be susceptible to malware attacks and software malfunctions if Windows XP is still being users after April 8, 2014. Nevertheless, the Australian government also told its departments that XP support would be available to a select few through a directed, and rather pricy, deal with Microsoft, saying, “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.”

Banks

Fortunately for people in the financial sector there is hope for XP that is embedded in ATMs. Microsoft has decided to give banks until January of 2016 to upgrade their ATM OS before it ceases support for them. In the meantime, the banks have a lot of work to do. With 95% of ATMs running Windows XP, which calculates to roughly 2.2 million machines, it will be no easy task to upgrade them to Windows 7, especially before the original April 8 deadline. There are estimates that UK banks may pay upwards of £60 million each to get their machines in order. The banks can choose to keep their old software, or have them upgraded. Either way, they are going to pay, and some of those costs will probably trickle down to you, the consumer.

After seeing the measures that others are taking, there seems to be no option that is ‘too crazy’. People desperately need help from Microsoft, and they are willing to pay for it. So, how much is Windows XP worth to you?

by David Molnar