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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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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.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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