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If you're willing to pay more and more, Microsoft might extend support a year or two

Ding, dong, Windows XP is dead.  After nearly a decade and a half kicking around as the world's most used operating system, Microsoft announced today that it was finally pulling the plug on support as promised.
But that ultimatum was softened by Microsoft's concession that for a few select enterprise and government users worldwide, it would continue to support the dying platform, IF they paid massive fees.
Some have already committed to that offer.  The UK's government offered up £5.5M ($9.1M USD) in British taxpayer money (on top of existing bulk enterprise licensing fees) to provide one additional year of support on Windows XP.  It is estimated that the deal will cover a couple million machines at UK government agencies.  The UK government claims £20M ($33.2M USD) in taxpayer money will be saved by a more gradual transition away from the aging platform.
The Netherlands government entered into a similar multimillion dollar contract to cover 34,000 to 40,000 aging Windows XP machines.  These deals will cover the costs of providing additional security updates to Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003.

Windows XP
Some aren't quite ready to "Turn Off" their beloved Windows XP.

Regardless of how taxpayers and tech observers feel about these deals, one thing's for sure -- they're a win-win for Microsoft.  If users upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 Microsoft will score licensing fees.  If they don't upgrade they will have to pay a quickly escalating ladder of premium fees, boosting Microsoft's profits.

Estimates of Windows XP's market share vary wildly and are skewed by certain segments that have seen higher upgrade rates -- or alternatively slower progression.

For example recent desktop PC statistics suggest Windows XP to be barely behind Windows 7 with over 40 percent of desktop PCs running it.  Likewise an estimated 95 percent of ATMs are thought to be running XP.

Kurtis Johnson, an "ATM expert" at U.S. ATM-maker Triton tells CNN Money:

This isn't a Y2K thing, where we're expecting the financial system to shut down. But it's fairly serious.

He argues that the high rate of ATM holdouts may leave customers vulnerable if hackers use malware to attack the machines.  The financial service sector has been slower than most to upgrade, not necessarily because it dislikes Windows 7 or Windows 8.  Quite to the contrary, many have expressed enthusiasm for these platforms.  However, they simply were unable to justify the costs, as it can cost between $1,000-3,500 USD to upgrade an ATM given the necessary modifications to the hardware and software and the expert support needed.

Windows XP
ATM makers have until 2016, or in some cases 2019, to get their machines off Windows XP.
[Image Source: funnpoint]

The "problem" of Windows XP on ATMs may be somewhat overstated, as most run Windows XP Embedded, a product which Microsoft plans to provide ongoing support for until 2016.  Additionally, some SKUs of Windows XP Embedded will receive support all the way until 2019, as they were released later.  Hence in the banking sector Microsoft understands the difficulties upgrading and won't be pulling the plug too soon, although there may be some odd exceptions.
Globally it is estimated that 25-30 percent of PCs (including laptops) are running Windows XP.
The shuttering of support is most dangerous for individual consumers and small businesses clinging to Windows XP.  Despite media coverage a significant percentage of both groups don't even realize they're running a dead platform and the danger they may be subjecting themselves and/or their business to, by not upgrading.  
To that end Microsoft has released a tool to let customers know if they're running Windows XP, in case going into the Control Panel proves too technically challenging.  It's also offered up to $100 USD in discounts to customers trading in Windows XP PCs.

Sources: Microsoft [TechNet], The Guardian, Webwereld [translated via Google], MSDN

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By DocScience on 4/8/2014 8:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
So, if Britain is paying for security fixes for a year, why can't Microsoft make them available to all?

RE: fixes
By geekman1024 on 4/8/2014 8:51:24 PM , Rating: 4
Si, if you bought a car, why don't let everyone drive it?

RE: fixes
By HostileEffect on 4/8/2014 10:24:39 PM , Rating: 5
I'll let them drive a copy!

RE: fixes
By Dorkyman on 4/9/2014 12:29:50 AM , Rating: 3
I find this all pretty funny. I predict NOTHING is going to happen. It's like having a warranty on a new car. The day after the warranty expires, surprise! Nothing has changed. The car still drives the same.

So no, I don't believe all the hype put out by Microsoft. And it's clear why they are doing it--they don't make money unless they sell you a newer OS.

RE: fixes
By deltaend on 4/9/2014 1:13:56 AM , Rating: 1
Right... Windows XP only had 2 or 3 new highly dangerous vulnerabilities patched each week for the majority of it's lifetime on the shelf. Critical updates would consolidate themselves to fix anywhere between 1 and 1,000 vulnerabilities each (including service packs). Couple this with an increasingly aging version of IE, you are going to have some incredibly vulnerable machines out there. Keep them behind a hardware firewall, use Chrome and don't ever download anything and you might be alright... But most people who use XP won't follow that and will be infected as soon as a new unpatched vulnerability hits the Internet. It's going to be like nuking was in 1995.

RE: fixes
By damianrobertjones on 4/9/2014 3:19:31 AM , Rating: 2
Why do people think that Chrome is invincible? I've seen PLENTY of machine with crap installed with Chrome being the main browser

RE: fixes
By chripuck on 4/9/2014 8:28:57 AM , Rating: 2
Because it is invincible compared to the version of IE that works on XP...

RE: fixes
By NellyFromMA on 4/9/2014 12:22:38 PM , Rating: 4
Invincible isn't a relative term. You either are or aren't.

RE: fixes
By Flunk on 4/9/2014 9:21:54 AM , Rating: 2
He does have a point, you can run a current version of Chrome or Firefox on Windows XP or Internet Explorer 8.0. That's 3 versions and 5 years out of date.

RE: fixes
By deltaend on 4/9/2014 10:18:59 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think that it is invincible, but compared to IE8, it certainly is a massive security improvement. I wasn't really pointing at Chrome as much as I was saying "alternative browser to IE8".

Oh, and I have seen machines with Chrome installed with crap on them, but I assume that people actually installed that crap and didn't have it enter their computer against their will via malformed webpage that took advantage of a bug in Chrome to self install.

RE: fixes
By TSS on 4/9/2014 2:57:21 PM , Rating: 2
Does IE still use ActiveX?

If it does, that's why.

The computers you're looking at are operated by users who have no problem clicking on every link that arrives in their mailbox. No matter how good the browser is, there's no point if the user manually downloads and executes the virus themselves.

RE: fixes
By bsim50 on 4/9/2014 3:46:57 AM , Rating: 2
"I'll let them drive a copy!"

LOL. Epic answer... :-)

RE: fixes
By thartist on 4/10/2014 10:02:30 AM , Rating: 2
You got my 6!

RE: fixes
By stm1185 on 4/8/2014 10:44:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's a business, it aint UNICEF.

RE: fixes
By croc on 4/9/2014 8:58:07 PM , Rating: 2
Unicef is a business as well. It just operates under the financial rules for a non-profit business. But the CEO still makes many multiples of what you make...

RE: fixes
By stmok on 4/8/2014 11:26:36 PM , Rating: 5
So, if Britain is paying for security fixes for a year, why can't Microsoft make them available to all?

Because the British taxpayer is specifically paying Microsoft to keep supporting Windows XP. (Long enough until alternatives are in place to replace it.)

If you want MS to keep supporting XP for your needs, you should contact them and organise a support contract with them.

Microsoft isn't a charity. They are a business. Their primary function is to provide software solutions to the business and consumer market in return for money.

Maintaining software costs money. Where is it going to get the money from, to keep supporting Windows XP? (Those who write/test patches and help customers resolve issues because of patches don't work for nothing, and money doesn't come out of thin-air!)

This isn't like the open source community, where you have skilled enthusiasts who enjoy solving problems on their own time, while they have a day job to maintain a standard of living.

(Even the commercial side of the open source community functions on support contracts. That's how Red Hat, etc functions as a business.)

The point is, nothing is for free. If you want something maintained indefinitely, you need to pay.

This is no different to buying an old car or plane where the spare parts are no longer manufactured. You can't realistically expect to ask the maker to keep a production line running (for spare parts) for free. Things cost time, money, and resources.

RE: fixes
By StevoLincolnite on 4/9/2014 1:20:37 AM , Rating: 2
The irony is, the British are doing it to save money by allowing a gradual transition to something newer.

Windows 7 has been around for about 5 years now, they have had *plenty* of time to make that transition and save taxpayers millions.

Still, would be nice for Microsoft to offer up a once-off fee to everyone to provide continued support, plenty of machines simply don't need FBI levels of security or speed.

Heck, my Bus depot still uses a Windows 3.11 PC for it's Bus ticket system...

RE: fixes
By ShaolinSoccer on 4/9/2014 2:05:47 AM , Rating: 1
And yet, Linux is an OS that not many people use but certain companies use it and make billions.

RE: fixes
By marvdmartian on 4/9/2014 7:29:17 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with W7 is, I've heard that MS doesn't plan on supporting it for very long (no doubt, just another "reason" they're giving consumers, to push them toward W8). So W7 may not be much of a solution at all, either.

The problem is, many of these companies and governments are still running software that was designed for XP, and, for whatever reason, won't run on Vista or 7 (that has to be some seriously messed up software, IMHO!). Since they don't have a replacement for those programs (or don't want to replace them with something new, further incurred cost), they've stuck with XP.

As far as consumers go, I have my main computer as a W7 set up, and I'm really not interested in learning what's basically a new operating system, in Windows 8. That's why, when I recently bought a new tablet to travel with, I went with Android OS. Chances are, when W7 is no longer supported, I'll make the jump to Linux, as I believe it will be easier for me to transition to.

And I really won't be surprised if Microsoft loses some business customers that way too. Great job they've done!

RE: fixes
By chripuck on 4/9/2014 8:31:54 AM , Rating: 2
They don't support old versions indefinitely due to deprecated code. Many of the fixes for XP are for vulnerabilities that don't exist in Windows 7/8 due to major kernel revisions since then. Sure, some overlap, but many do not. That means to patch these versions of the OS you need to keep a running stable of employees skilled with that version of the OS, even though the OS is rapidly falling out of use. They aren't a charity and code doesn't magically fix itself.

RE: fixes
By PsychoPif on 4/9/2014 9:08:07 AM , Rating: 5
I'm really not interested in learning what's basically a new operating system, in Windows 8. That's why, when I recently bought a new tablet to travel with, I went with Android OS.

That's some pretty good logic...

RE: fixes
By marvdmartian on 4/9/2014 2:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
Since I had previously used a Kindle Fire HD, which runs Amazon's slightly crippled version of Android, it really wasn't much of learning curve to continue with a full blown version.

Learning Windows 8 (or 8.1) would have been much steeper of a learning curve.

Sorry if I didn't make that clear enough before.

RE: fixes
By ilt24 on 4/9/2014 9:55:21 AM , Rating: 3
The problem with W7 is, I've heard that MS doesn't plan on supporting it for very long

1/14/2020 is the current end of support date for Windows 7
1/10/2023 is the current end of support date for Windows 8

from "Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ" page:

Business and Developer products

Microsoft will offer a minimum of 10 years of support for Business and Developer products. Mainstream Support for Business and Developer products will be provided for 5 years or for 2 years after the successor product (N+1) is released, whichever is longer. Microsoft will also provide Extended Support for the 5 years following Mainstream support or for 2 years after the second successor product (N+2) is released, whichever is longer. Finally, most Business and Developer products will receive at least 10 years of online self-help support.

Consumer and Multimedia products

Microsoft will offer Mainstream Support for either a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product’s general availability, or for 2 years after the successor product (N+1) is released, whichever is longer. Extended Support is not offered for Consumer and Multimedia products. Products that release new versions annually, such as Microsoft Money, Microsoft Encarta, Microsoft Picture It!, and Microsoft Streets & Trips, will receive a minimum of 3 years of Mainstream Support from the product's date of availability. Most products will also receive at least 8 years of online self-help support. Microsoft Xbox games are currently not included in the Support Lifecycle policy.

RE: fixes
By GodMadeDirt on 4/9/2014 10:19:35 AM , Rating: 2
Always chuckle at the "moving to Linux" crowd. This never happens.

RE: fixes
By Argon18 on 4/9/14, Rating: 0
RE: fixes
By OoklaTheMok on 4/9/2014 12:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
Citing that businesses use Linux based OSes to run their services is not the same thing because it has zero impact on what the end user does on a day to day basis. The services could be running on Windows or OSX and the user wouldn't know the difference.

RE: fixes
By robinthakur on 4/10/2014 6:48:00 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed, that it is a different market with the consumer. The fact is that Apache, (along with PHP and MySQL) runs 60% of the world's websites, which you might be oblivious to if you've only used IIS/ASP.Net at work as many have, and which give you a distorted view of Microsoft's power. It is much easier to work with for the Unix crowd because Apache is built in (which does actually include those that use OSX as most non MS web-designers/developers seem to)

I think *nix based devices have only been very successful in the consumer space when they have abstracted all the complexities of the OS behind a shiny exterior and where they don't need to maintain compatibility with the desktop equivalents. E.g. even iOS is a completely different app model to OSX and Android is likewise different to Chrome OS. MS attempted this with Windows RT. Very few people will be looking in the filesystems of these devices, but if they do, it is nice that they will see a standard *nix layout of folders rather than some proprietary MS arrangement.

Coming to Unix having worked with MS systems throughout my working life, I found it utterly terrifying, but really it is something we shouldn't put out heads in the sand about, and I'm glad I took the time to learn about it and conquer my fear. I now use OSX as I find it a nice environment for doing most regular tasks, but powerful enough under the hood if you need to use Terminal, PHP and MySQL and the like. I still use Windows only when I need Visual Studio, Project or Visio in a VM, it's not a case of all or nothing.

RE: fixes
By Sazabi19 on 4/9/2014 9:55:43 AM , Rating: 2
You don't have a clue how time consuming it is to change infrastructure over do you? Especially in govt. I work for local govt. and we have been planning our switch to Windows 7 for over 3 years, we only have about 10k devices and 8k users. This is local govt, not a countries govt. They have much more riding on their transition, more systems, more programs, depts, etc... It is a very long process full of headaches and things people don't expect. They, much like us, are also probably moving from 32-bit to 64, which adds more headaches. We have home grown applications that have to be re written and older programs that just will not work with our upgrade to 7. For ALL of those programs a solution has to be worked out before anything can go forward. Images have to be made and tested internally, then once that is stable, you have to start seed testing. All the while things are going wrong and breaking and have to be fixed. Problems arise and solutions have to be worked out. Even the seeds can't test everything and you could deploy machines that are functionally broken. Older hardware has to be swapped out for newer that will work, some drivers will not work. I think they have been working on this for years just as we have, we have only just started rolling it out to our users. Please don't spew crap like that unless you know anything about it. This is a VERY long process.

RE: fixes
By KCjoker on 4/9/2014 6:13:51 PM , Rating: 2
No, we DO understand how slow and inefficient gov't is....that's the problem in most countries right now. Which is why people are becoming more and more libertarians.

RE: fixes
By Argon18 on 4/9/14, Rating: 0
RE: fixes
By croc on 4/9/2014 9:00:35 PM , Rating: 3
"Security Through Obscurity"?

RE: fixes
By Dr of crap on 4/9/2014 10:18:31 AM , Rating: 1
Yes we know but then this -
"To that end Microsoft has released a tool to let customers know if they're running Windows XP, in case going into the Control Panel proves too technically challenging ."

Knowing how stupid the average user is, you shouldn't pull the rug out from under them with the stopping of support of XP.
Now those same stupid users will cry bloody murder when there PCs don't work because of stopping XP support. Of course there's the flip side that these stupid users also didn't install any of the updates anyway!

It just smells of a monopoly, and a greedy, grimy, low down slap to ALL the PC idiots out there.

RE: fixes
By NellyFromMA on 4/9/2014 12:21:10 PM , Rating: 2
Because that economically makes no sense for MS. They actually like to profit. If they charge some, and not other, well why would anyone pay at all?

RE: fixes
By km9v on 4/10/2014 10:04:36 AM , Rating: 2
Why did everybody stop using DOS? It works just fine.

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