Government announces £5.5m Microsoft deal for support for public sector XP computers.
Migrating from Windows XP could prove to be more expensive than continuing to run the aged operating system after its Microsoft support expires next week, it has been claimed.
Analyst house CIC told CBR migrating IT infrastructure to Windows 7 or 8 could prove less attractive than paying Microsoft for custom support after end-of-life on April 8, as the government announced a £5.5m deal with Microsoft to keep XP secure for the next 12 months.
Principal analyst Clive Howard said: "Businesses face an enormous task. They’re scared. But they have to weigh up how much it will cost to upgrade and whether buying extra life support comes in much lower.
"In a lot of cases XP will be cheaper for a considerable time."
He pointed out that firms with large infrastructures face a lengthy and costly process to upgrade all the equipment, and said some will shy away simply because business critical applications run on XP.
He added: "It’s that chained dependency that means businesses are stuck at the moment."
The government’s £5.5m agreement covers public sector areas including the NHS, local government, charities, schools and Whitehall, and is equal to $200 per desktop.
The cabinet office said it has saved at least £20m compared with letting departments negotiate separately, and the agreement covers one million NHS computers.
It also includes the Metropolitan Police’s 34,000 desktops still running on XP.
A cabinet office spokesman said: "This is an important deal, which will provide continuity for all eligible government and public sector organisations while they migrate on to alternative operating systems."
It hopes most public sector infrastructure will have upgraded to other operating systems come April 2015.
Meanwhile, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council has started a migration project to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, according to V3.
It was running 3,500 XP desktops and 800 XP laptops and is paying around £200 per Chrome device to upgrade.
The latest web traffic stats from Net Applications show that XP users contributed to 27% of all web traffic last month, compared to 49% for Windows 7 and a collective 11.3% for 8 and 8.1.
CIC’s Howard said Windows 7 is proving more popular than 8 and 8.1 due to its older age, as well as its more traditional interface.
But he warned: "We are moving rapidly into touch devices. Businesses that suddenly decide they need touch devices are going to be in a better situation support 8 than 7."
A Microsoft spokeswoman said: "The good news is that hardware costs have decreased significantly since XP was launched so a new PC should cost much less than you might think and you can get a perfectly good new device from about £350.
"As a part of the migration process, it’s a good idea for businesses to research the new form factors and devices that are available for the modern workplace. With the choice on offer businesses should find there is a path to Windows 8.1 that works for any budget. We also recommend that organisations purchase software assurance where possible to protect their investments with future upgrades."