Navy signs $9.1 million contract with Microsoft to keep Windows XP afloat

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There is no denying that Windows XP was a major success for Microsoft. Businesses around the world helped to turn it into one of the most popular operating systems ever. Now, as the rollout of Windows 10 approaches, and with Windows XP officially dead, its zombie still causes headaches for the software giant, and businesses across the globe, including the US Navy.

Indeed, the dependence of the US Navy on the continued existence of Windows XP is such that the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) has signed a $9.1 million contract with Microsoft to continue supporting its particular flavor of the operating system until it can realistically transfer to something else. The task of switching is no easy one however, as reported on Ars Technica.

With around 100,000 machines throughout the Navy running Windows XP in one form or another, finding new equipment will likely prove to be something of a headache. This will only be exacerbated by the particularly stringent security requirements of the military, and also many of the specialist features that are used regularly. It is a similar story for the army, which is also looking at reducing its dependence on Windows XP.

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The renewal contract, according to SPAWAR, will give them,

“time to migrate from its existing reliance on the expiring product versions to newer product versions approved for use in Ashore and Afloat networks, and will provide hotfixes to minimize risks while ensuring support and sustainability of deployed capabilities.”

It is now a matter of time before the Navy, along with other public institutions such as the IRS, navigates its way to the safer waters of Windows 7; yet this goes to show how difficult the process of upgrading can be for large concerns. As the share of Windows XP continues to dwindle, there is an end in sight, but for the moment, the pain is still real for many.

With the news that apparently governments only fix 27% of reported security vulnerabilities however, it appears that this update can not come soon enough, especially given the importance of the information held by the likes of the Navy.

Does your workplace still use Windows XP? Let us know in the comments below.

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