The US Navy is paying Microsoft $9.1 million for continued Windows XP support

Officially, Microsoft ended support of its 13-year old operating system Windows XP over a year ago. Yet, even with all that time, many government and military organizations are still using the outdated OS on their PCs, and are paying Microsoft for special support. The latest example is he US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, who has signed a $9.1 million contract extension with Microsoft that will allow the company to keep offering Windows XP software update for that division.

According to Ars Technica:

"The renewal, according to SPAWAR officials, will buy the Navy "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." Many of the systems are in shipboard administrative networks that have not been available for extended periods of maintenance; the Navy is also playing catch-up on its land-based network upgrades as the result of the long delays in the service's Next Generation Network (NGEN) contract—the follow-up to the outsourced Navy and Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI)."

Despite its age and its lack of official support, the latest data from Net Applications shows that Windows XP was used by 14.60% of all PCs worldwide in May 2015.

Source: Ars Technica

186 Comments
  • Wow way to spend that money guys
  • Well it is not their money so they will keep on spending it
  • But they are surely spending from their share of "loot".
  • Some of that money came from my pocket. These dinosaurs
  • At least you don't live in Brazil. Our government knows how to create "taxes". And they transform 9.1 million into 30 million, so they can steal a little. I wish I could live in USA or even in Europe
  • Greece is a mess as well, even though it's in Europe, at least for the time being.
  • Well lately, greece politics ruined the european system. It's definitelly Europe, but it's not fair to compare Greece with The Netherlands, Germany, England, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switserland, Denmark and France which are the much more stable countries in Europe as it should be if you are part of the European Union. I really hope things(economy) will be worked out in Greece, beautiful country!
  • From People, To Capitalist, For Capitalist that's Democracy
  • Capitalism has no moral base, why you think the U.S. loves wars...it's a Trillion dollar business!
  • As opposed to Imperial Britain, dictators, socialists, communists? What Pollyanna world do you live in?
  • Well put. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • What's new?  It's the Goverment.  Full of a bunch of people on both sides of the isle that care more about votes, popularity, and filling their friends pockets and their own pockets with my hard earned cash.
  • True story broda! Less or more, it's the same everywhere on this planet!
  • Exactly..
  • Lol and now we'll know exactly what happened when the US Navy's security gets breached.
  • Thats why they are using Windows, NOT CrApple's OSX childish toy. However, i belive i would upgrade to Win8.1 Pro and later Win10 Pro for sure. But i'm not in Navy. I'm using Win10 right now, and loving it. it RCOKS.
  • This is literally, pocket money. Just a small piece of dust in comparison to what they must be spending daily.
  • Yea exactly, one jet is guna be 10 times that
  • It's that kind of thinking that gets them in to debt. Every dept thinks their amount of waste is miniscule, but when you add them up it all counts.
  • That amount would be infinitely less than what it would cost to migrate their systems to a current platform. It's not just the OS the PC's run, but all of their software and infrastructure that would have to be retested. It would be a massive undertaking.
  • What would be much less expensive and more secure would be to the Navy to use Windows Virtual PC and use Windows XP through virtualization, this is allowed in Windows 7 Enterprise and by doing this they will be much more secured from direct attacks to Windows XP since the OS in virtualized mode is much better secured.
  • Not exactly. Support of two operating systems on a single device increases support costs, increases complexity, and increases data loss. Also, unless you specifically configure this setup to avoid clipboard sharing and file copies you're now no more secure than running XP natively. I make a living supporting corporate WinTel environments, so this is more than just my opinion :-)
  • That's what MED-V is used for, and also there are a lot of increased security benefits you get from virtualization like sandboxing, server isolation, honeypots and honeynets. For more info about how to manage security of multiple VMs you can see  MED-V reference here https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg548512.aspx
  • Sure, but MS can handle it for them with Azure, or have Win10 Pro install on their system. there has to be a really good reason as to why they are still with XP. For government money is nothing. just think how much money has been wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan, Trillion+....
  • Given their budget this is pocket change. Worth it for support of an OS that is used to run probably billion dollar secret software. :)
  • A cool 9 million... That is the way to do business... However, just maintaining vulnerability isn't really wise. Those $ could have gone to upgrading.
  • Those whos complaining abt their govmnt never heard of philippine government.its the worst of worst.
  • Truly pathetic. Why anyone puts any faith in our government just boggles the mind.
  • I don't see what is so pathetic about it really.  Many businesses and other governments around the world are doing the same thing.  This article even states that Windows XP is still running on 15% of the PCs in the world.  They have systems in place that are working.  It's not a high priority to fix something that already works.  Most of these computers are probably not sitting on desks connected to the internet or external networks.  Many of them are probably running specialized software to control machinery or running in embedded systems (just like the bank ATM machines that are mostly still running XP).  Those that work in IT know that there is a cost associated with downtime.  It's not always easy to quantify, but the cost is there and it adds up fast.  How much do you think is costs to have a aircraft carrier, nuclear sub, or destroyer sitting idle in a habor with most of its crew on paid leave while all of its computers (which worked fine) are being replaced and the systems completely re-validated?  I'm willing to bet it costs a lot more than paying $9.1 million dollars to an American company for extended support.  Is it worth the downtime and expense to upgrade a computer that monitors some water pumps (or whatever) from Win XP to Win 8?  After you go through all that trouble and the expense of upgrading, have you really accomplished anything useful?  In some cases it might be worth it, but in many cases it's not. 
  • Great response.
  • Oh stop it with all your legitimate logic.
  • Not mindbloggling at all. Our government is still tops. Perhaps you never had to fight for human rights for yourself. I'd rather have some law and order that don't intrude or violate and protects human rights rather than allowing thugs and terrorists the freedom of operation. 
  • They should switch to Windows Phone 10 ;)
  • Bad idea.
  • There's no Windows Phone 10. Jeeez!
  • Windows Phone 10 is shorter than windows 10 for phones, and to say only windows 10 will always bring the question, phone, pic tablet or Xbox? So it's better to say windows phone 10
  • It will be called Windows 10 Mobile. Don't you know that?
  • For the general public, it is just Windows 10. You don't need to know that the Windows 10 SKU it is running is Windows 10 Mobile. Your phone runs Windows 10, but the phone itself is a Windows 10 phone or a Windows 10 mobile...just the same way a phone running Android would be called an Android phone or an Android mobile. Microsoft releasing the names of the different SKUs is for the people that need to know the difference between the SKUs.
  • You do need to know. A phone license won't work on a PC.
  • And there is no WindowsPhone XP :D
  • That is why it is a bad idea!
  • Well, nokia's (Microsoft Lumias) are indestructible. So... Yea
  • Do you mean Windows 10? It still hasn't been released, I think Windows 7 using Windows Virtual PC and XP would be much better choice to be protected from worms, hackers and viruses.
  • That's sad and angering at the same time.
  • Why is that? They are running probably billion dollar systems off of XP that they would have to recontract with vendors to support an upgrade to make sure it runs properly and whatnot. The important thing isnt XP or 10 for the military. Its what launches the stuff that keeps America safe and is stable so American defense dont go down :). They got some crazy stuff they have to migrate over still.
  • You have some crazy insight... /s
  • Fantastic. So that means migrating from windows XP would cost them more than 9.1 million?
  • Good question.
  • One would assume so. But they could be spending a lot more had they jumped the gun and migrated before they were sure all of their stuff worked as intended.
  • No, If they had prepared before, MS warned everyone for years that Windows XP support would be dropped sometime. But they prefer to do nothing.
  • That was meant for public, not military or government.
  • Of course not. They've warned EVERYONE, my company started to receive this warnings years ago, since Windows 7 launch.
  • XP extended support ended a year ago - THAT was the non-public support date. For everyone else, it was something like 2012. Absolutely correct, they did nothing essentially and now the cost to upgrade is most likely twice what they're paying Microsoft now. Alas, you think Healthcare organizations are doing any better?
  • Yes it would. They would have to upgrade the hardware, update all software and other military grade equipment and on top, develop new security measures. It would take too much to update to 10 or even 8.1
  • Tech will not wait for them. Eventually they will have to update to something, but when they do the cost will be massive. For now 9 million is a deal. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Don't be shocked guys! You should know by now that to this day there are thousands of people in the US who are still connected to dial up internet.
  • Their are actually more than 4 million
  • What? Is it true? :-o
  • Believe it or not, some areas in the US dont have access to cable or broadband... Their only way to get semi fast internet is by satilite and let's just say, dont try to go on xbox live with it....
  • No idea of the exact number, but that number is probably about right. Where I live in the US we don't even have dial up or anything else as an option.
  • In Sweden like 95% of the population have acces to 100 mbt internet, some even higher. I really thought that it should be almost the same in the states.
  • I saw an article a few days ago that said there was about 4M dial-up users in the US. When there are 322+ million people, 4 million is about 1.2% of the people with dial-up. 100Mbt speed is higher than the average in the US, but it is only a small percentage that have slow data connections. I would be willing to say that many of those 1.2% do not know about higher data rates available elsewhere, do not want to pay the higher price, cannot get a faster data connection (phone lines are available anywhere, cable/DSL is not - my uncle being one of them) or simply don't like change so stick with thier lower speed.
  • You have to consider probably 70% of the USA population live close to or in major population centers and that covers a very small footprint in the land mass of the USA. The state I live in is like that with probably a little over a dozen population centers, get 10 miles away from them and the only choice is dailup, satellite or put up a cell phone antennae and booster and use your phone for a hot spot. Europe does not have the huge unpopulated areas like the USA has,  not even close, and that is one major reason they can get high speed internet to so many and in most areas.
  • Yeah, if only ISPs and cable providers were local instead of Comcast and the like trying to monopolize the technology.
  • Look at a map of population distribution for the US. 2/3 of the US population is east of the Mississippi River. Practically no population west of the Mississippi, by comparison. A strip of heavy population in clumps along the west coast. That's it. I grew up in a town of 400 in Washington state where the nearest city of population above 25,000 was 90 miles in any direction. A few years ago, the locally-owned telephone company brought in high-speed internet: 768 Kbps was the fastest they could offer.
  • You should really come to India..so many people..town with 400 people is a dream..the number is generally over 40,000
  • We have a lot more land than you guys
  • That's true;)
  • Sweden is a little bigger than the US state of Montana and has a million more people than New York City in it (Montana has like 1.2 million people in it). That means more customers in a small area :). If America had that density I bet we would be at that too. But for now we have to suffer with bad internet :(.
  • Sweden is tiny compared to the US.
  • Yes, Sweden is a smal country. But I really thought that dial-up is far outdated. My phone can bring faster internet then dial-up based internet. I mean? I have played over Xbox Live whit my phones internet(4G)
  • That is not dial-up. Dial-up is where you connect through an old style modem, 56K baud with all that screeching and other noises. Dial-up goes over old style copper strung from your telephone pole to house, with electrical current running from you to your teleco. Plus there are some old outdated laws that restrict how fast you can transmit data over a phone line. That is why, although a modem may be rated at 56K, it only works around 51K to comply with laws.
      Using your cell phone is using your cell network, no wires between you and the cell tower where they can change the radio frequency and other metrics to transfer data to you. Comparing dialup to your 4G connection is like comparing 4G LTE to 1G data transmission. This is also one of those "you young whippersnapper" moments - someone who didn't grow up without the internet so you really don't know what it was like back in my day.
  • Sweden is like 2sq miles compared to USA. Getting internet to places in the middle of nowhere may not always make sense.
  • There's still people sending money to AOL for internet access when they're already getting cable broadband...
  • My family runs off of 800KBS (cheapest Cable plan i can get).   Why?  Its fast enough to watch PARKS off of Amazon Prime and most of the shows off of Xfinity.  So why do i need to pay for something i won't use 99% of the time.  To make things simpler, i can download a 300mb file in 24 Minutes.  $30.00 isn't that big of a problem.  I just wish the damn thing was cheaper.  I hate Comcast for screwing up what cheap actually meant.   Time Warner was nearly 19.95 for the same plan.  I imagine inflated would be around 25.00 but still cheaper than 30.....
  • So dumb. A new (and much more secure) OS costs way less. Stupid. Just so stupid.
  • XP was more secure. Plus upgradation takes time especially on daily used machines.
  • ^This. Not to mention the military has some pretty specialized programs they run. They need the time to test everything to make sure it all works properly. Compatibility issues are a bitch.
  • Yeah, it's not like a glitch in an application would fire off a weapon by mistake ..... riiiiiight? LOL. In these very specific military situations, you really need to get everything working as expected. Not just "most things", but everything. That will take some time for sure.
  • Not fire a missile but surely can miss an evac request due to faulty program. There are more things.
  • It's not so much the testing and compatibility issues as it is more about: Government works SLOWLY Lack of commitment from personnel - mostly contractors Lack of skill to migrate - the core IT folks are probably understaffed Crap vendors that hide behind auditing bodies to do as little as possible while maximizing profits (i.e. FDA, HIPAA, etc).
  • Time which they suddenly don't have? Or is it that they rather put their, or rather, taxpayer money towards ships, aircrafts, and other things.
  • I know, they just found out about the phase out this month and had no time to prepare:p
  • Other than the money, Windows XP is not the most secure OS to run on these days and this is our naval warfare systems
  • Critical naval warfare systems are probably not being directly controlled by Windows computers.  They are usually controlled by much older proprietary industrial computer systems that are custom built for their purpose.  The irony is that everyone seems to be up in arms about Windows XP being so old, but the really critical systems are probably as old as the ships themselves.  That would mean many are 20 to 30 years old.
  • Cleavitt76, absolutely best answer on this comments section. 100% agreed.
  • This is 100% correct.  That super amazing stealth tactical fighter, the F-22, that everyone loves? It's core systems use Ada-2012, a revision of Ada-83/MIL-STD-1815 programing language. Ada was developed in 1978 to standardize programing language use within DoD systems, which at the time were using hundreds of languages of varying age, including ALGOL-60, ALGOL-68, Pascal, Smalltalk, ect... many of which where hardware dependant.  Ada has became the standardized DoD program language in 1980, receiving occasional revisions over the decades.  Another fine example is the LGM -30 "Minuteman-III" ICBM. It uses the D37D flight computer in the NS20 and NS50 navigtaional systems, repalcing the disk based memory system with the D37D, to radiation-resistant RAM. The systems are intergrated with the orginal guidence system hardware which is built into the missile.  Even the console systems used in Hardened Launch Facilities are using older OS' and proprietary legacy systems, photo link below; http://www.spacewar.com/images/icbm-underground-launch-control-center-ma...  
  • Fail army
  • Navy?
  • Tell me about it... The world finest US Navy behind the power curve on cyber defense.
  • Wouldn't it just be cheaper to upgrade to a more modern OS?
  • Not necessarily. Any compatibility issues they'd have with their programs may make them totally useless for the purpose they are intended. These things will have to be looked at during the testing phase.
  • But couldn't they put some cash and make a new program that runs on the latest OS'es?
  • That's 9.1 + some cash = X million. Way too much money. But on the other hand 9mil is nothing for military. They are spending your, my, everyone's taxes
  • Old school people
  • They really want to get hacked
  • No shit lets just wait until they get hack
  • They can't play battlefield on that
  • Microsoft should do it for free after all its serving the country.
  • Microsoft is a private profitable company. They too need to stay in business so they can provide tools and services needed in the real world so that people can explore their full potential
  • WHAT?????
  • If MS goes bankrupt, they are not going to help .