So, Microsoft was telling us fibs all along.
It turns out that when they said, way back in 2007, that they would no longer support Windows XP after April 8th 2014, and that no more security updates would be made available, they weren't actually telling the truth.
It appears that you *can* still get Windows XP security updates... albeit at a slightly hefty price.
Yes, the UK Government is paying Microsoft over £5.5 million of taxpayers' money to receive support and security updates for a further 12 months, while the rest of the country will be left with the choice of sticking with a vulnerable operating system or having to splash out on new software and (perhaps) more modern hardware.
Computer Weekly report Bryan Glick broke the story:
The government has signed a deal with Microsoft to provide Windows XP support and security updates across the whole UK public sector for 12 months after regular support for the operating system ends on 8 April.
The agreement is worth £5.548m, and covers critical and important security updates for Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003, all of which have reached end of life in Microsoft’s normal product cycles.
One condition for any public sector body wishing to take advantage of the extended support is that they have a "robust plan" in place to move off Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 within a year.
You would have hoped, wouldn't you, that with seven years' notice of the demise of Windows XP they would already have a "robust plan" for switching to a more modern operating system.
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which haggled the deal with Microsoft, claims it will save £20 million in the next 12 months as a result.
Sarah Hurrell, commercial director for IT and telecoms at the CCS, declined to give figures for just how many UK government PCs are still running Windows XP, but it has been estimated that 85% of the approximately 800,000 PCs in the National Health Service were still running Windows XP as of September 2013.
Stating the blinding bleeding obvious, Sarah Hurrell says: "The NHS is very grateful for this deal."
A £20 million saving, eh? One wonders what kind of saving the British government could have made with an even bigger deal. Maybe, rather than just securing updates for its own computers, and those of public bodies, it could have negotiated a "site license" with Microsoft for the entire country.
Yes, wouldn't that be marvellous? Imagine if the entirety of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland had been given a wonderful present of XP security updates for another 12 months.
Not only might that have been a vote winner for those businesses and consumers with older computers who are wondering how they're going to handle the security update shut-off for XP, but maybe it would have even boosted the economy?
Picture it, all of us Brits could have benefited from economic tourism as people around the world flocked to our shores to sit in a Marks & Spencer restaurant, drinking PG Tips, and downloading their Microsoft Windows XP security patches, as purchased by the British Government.
It doesn't sound like that's going to happen though. So, maybe the best we can hope for is that some charitable soul will be a little bit naughty and shove any security updates he downloads onto his NHS PC into a downloadable torrent as a favour to other XP users.
But seriously, as soon as you can, ditch Windows XP. It's time to say goodbye.