HMG pays Microsoft £5.5 million to continue XP support for HMG
Just to add to the XP catastrophe spam storm, I’d like to mention the brilliant forward-planning of her majesty’s government. Obviously taken by surprise by this sudden cessation of support, it has scrambled its negotiating prowess and done a major deal in a very short space of time. For a mere £5.584m of our money (details from El Reg) it has done a special deal with Microsoft to continue support for a further year.
It is because HMG declined to update so many of its computers that they were able to negotiate such a beneficial deal. Had the government succumbed to knee-jerk advice and upgraded its computers earlier, it would not now have been able to get such a good deal.
“By combining demand, on behalf of Central Government departments and the wider public sector, Crown Commercial Service 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,” explained a Crown Commercial Services spokesperson
The general public should feel happy that having first buggered the economy so that we cannot afford new computers for ourselves, and then taken the rest of our money through taxes, the government is now using those taxes to look after itself, solely and selflessly so it doesn’t get recruited into one massive HMRC botnet bombarding us with spam and whatnot. So that’s alright.
Kevin Linsell, Head of Service Development at Adapt, has his own views on this. “The new one year deal provides security to thousands of XP users in the public sector for an additional year,” he told me in an emailed comment. “With around 30 million taxpayers in the UK, the cost works out at around 18p per tax payer. This doesn’t seem like much, but it does beg the question – why are we spending this money when we could have met the deadline in the first place? Microsoft made their end of support for XP known more than five years ago. With that in mind, surely there remains the risk that the public sector won’t have migrated away from XP onto a more secure solution by 2015.”
Now there’s an interesting thought. HMG will have undoubtedly managed to migrate at least some of its computers (Dell is a common beneficiary, so it will be rubbing its hands with glee); so there will be fewer computers to support. The price will then go up for the lesser number — Microsoft’s support costs will not have come down, but will have increased through inflation and salary increases. It will therefore need to charge more for fewer computers… Maybe HMG should consider buying up discarded XP machines at a discount (Dell won’t like that) in order to maintain the numbers and get another good deal on support next year.
Then it can boast how good it’s been with our money again.