One of the big questions about the pending end of support for Windows XP is whether larger institutional entities would pay to extend support for the relatively ancient operating system. For the governments of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, the answer is a resounding yes.
According to a report in DutchNews, The Netherlands government will pay Microsoft "multiple millions" of dollars to continue supporting Windows XP. The report notes that up to 40,000 Dutch government employees still use XP and that a planned migration away from the OS won't be completed until January 2015.
The Netherlands isn't alone, of course. The UK government will pay over $9 million to Microsoft for one year of additional Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 support. That government says it has a "robust plan" for moving to more modern systems in the coming year.
As readers of this publication must surely know, Microsoft ends support for the OS tomorrow, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. But the XPocalypse, as it's commonly called, is fairly unprecedented. Never before has a Microsoft platform this successful been put out of service: XP still has at least 400 million active users.
Other governments, enterprises and educational institutions are moving forward with plans to migrate to newer Microsoft OSes, but will continue using XP until they're ready to move. The city of Portland, Oregon says it will "closely monitor" its remaining XP PCs until its migration is complete in the coming year.
But the underlying issue is that many XP users can't afford to pay for further support. And a bigger group of individuals and small businesses probably aren't even aware of the expiration. Numb from ignoring over a decade of pop-ups and OS warnings, these users will probably go on blissfully (ahem) using XP for the foreseeable future. After all, they paid for it. Probably many, many years ago.
And it's not like Windows XP will just stop working. No, the concern here is that the end of XP support will leave the OS—and thus its users—vulnerable to electronic attack. What's not clear is whether these fears will materialize or whether this is yet another Y2K bust.
For that, we'll just need to wait. Until tomorrow.