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Government pays to extend Microsoft XP support for entire public sector

The government has entered a 12-month agreement with Microsoft to maintain “critical” and “important” security updates for Windows XPafter regular support for the operating system ends on 8 April 2014.

Worth an estimated £5.5m, the contract will provide updates for Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003, all of which have reached the end of their life in Microsoft’s normal product cycles.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) negotiated the agreement, which will provide support until 14 April 2015. It added that the contract is “vital” and will provide “continuity” during migration onto alternative operating systems.

The new support agreement covers the entire UK public sector, which is defined as organisations or entities eligible for Public Sector Agreement 2012 (PSA12) pricing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Additionally, educational institutes eligible under the Memorandum of Understanding for UK schools and charities – defined under the Microsoft Non-profit Program Eligibility criteria – are able to access this agreement.

However, access to the agreementdepends on certain criteria. For instance, organisations with 250 or more devices with Windows XP must have in place a signed and up-to-date Microsoft Premier contract.

Microsoft XP - middle pic

Rob Wilmot, Crown representative for software, said: “We are delighted that this agreement will deliver projected savings in excess of £20m against standard pricing in the next 12 months.

“By combining demand, on behalf of central government departments and the wider public sector, CCS has demonstrated the benefits of government working as a single customer to achieve best value for the taxpayer, whilst continuing to build good working relationships with our technology suppliers,” he added.

Microsoft told PSE, though, that public sector services must still upgrade their systems going forward.

A Microsoft spokesman said: “We have made an agreement with the CCS to provide eligible UK public sector organisations with the ability to download security updates to Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 for one year until 14 April 2015. 

“Agreements such as these do not remove the need to move off Windows XP as soon as possible.”

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