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US Navy Pays Millions for Windows XP Support

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Microsoft has found a cash cow in the U.S. Navy. The military branch is reportedly paying the software giant up to $30.8 million dollars to support up to 100,000 computers that have yet to update from Windows XP, which expired in April 2014.

The expenditures will pay for Microsoft Premier Support, the only option left for large-scale customers who wish to use an expired OS without undertaking enormous security risks. Pricing is customized per customer, but to start a Premier agreement you need at least $46,000 of Windows licensing in place. To continue support it typically costs $100,000-150,000 per year to maintain the agreement, a Microsoft sales executive told HardBoiled.  It is usually as a last ditch measure by huge agencies that can afford the support fees but cannot afford a security breach.

In the Navy’s case, legacy programs and applications are to blame, a spokesman told Computer World. The Navy will have to continue paying Premier fees for operating systems that have reached end of life until those applications and programs are phased out.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) signed the contract into place with Microsoft. The department develops, delivers, and sustains communications and information capabilities for all crafts and vessels in the naval fleet. It is one of three major acquisition departments in the U.S. Navy.

A private company, SPAWAR is not funded by the federal government. The San Diego-based company is comprised of IT consultants, scientists, and engineers, and competes to win funding from government agencies. It is headed by a mix of contractors and high-ranking Navy officers. The company has been affected by defense spending cuts by the federal government in recent budget cycles.

That may change this year thanks to U.S. Navy legacy applications. This serves as a reminder that companies that fail to upgrade away from expired operating systems quickly rack up support costs.

The deal extends into 2017, though according to the contract, work is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.  The contact covers access to security patches for Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2003, and Windows Server 2003—which will reach end of life July 14.

If you are a small or medium sized business, you can’t afford to play fast and loose with your IT budget like what we are seeing with the U.S. military forking over tens of millions for expired OS support. You should take a page from the Navy’s playbook, however, and do whatever is needed to stay supported.

The most cost-effective way to do this usually involves retiring legacy systems in due time.

Read more: It is Time to Rethink Server Migration
Read more: Upgrade Windows XP or Get Your FREAK on
Read more: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Windows XP in 2015
Read more:  5 Excuses for Still Running Windows XP

Are you running unsupported Windows XP or paying for extended Windows XP support?

Summary
US Navy Pays Millions for Windows XP Support
Article Name
US Navy Pays Millions for Windows XP Support
Description
Legacy programs and applications are to blame for the U.S. Navy spending up to $30.8 million on extended Windows XP support.
Author
Adam Lovinus

Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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