The U.S. Internal Revenue Service missed Microsoft's April 8 deadline for migrating off of Windows XP, and now it's paying Microsoft to provide custom support and security patches for the 13-year-old operating system.
Faced with tight budgets and other constraints, the IRS is having a tough time coming up with the $30 million it needs to migrate its base of 110,000 Windows XP PCs to Windows 7, the Washington Post reported last week.
The IRS said it has migrated 52,000 XP PCs so far and is aiming to complete the transition by the end of the year. How much the extended support will cost the IRS isn't clear, however.
Earlier this month, Computerworld did the math and estimated that the IRS would be paying Microsoft $11.6 million for extended XP support. But on Friday, the IRS claimed the actual number was less than $500,000.
The IRS isn't the only U.S. government agency to miss the XP support deadline. The U.S. Department Of Defense still has roughly 3 percent of its several million Windows PCs running XP and it also has negotiated an extended support deal with Microsoft, Mashable reported earlier this month.
XP accounted for 27 percent of worldwide web traffic during the month of March, according to research firm Net Applications. But Fiberlink, an IBM-owned mobile device management vendor, recently cited data showing that more than 40 percent of businesses are still using XP.
Joe Balsarotti, president of Software To Go, a St. Peters, Mo.-based Microsoft partner, isn't surprised to hear that some customers have decided to stick with Windows XP, which he described as "a good, proven OS."
Microsoft has been pushing XP customers to upgrade all the way to Windows 8.1. But given the time and expense of moving to Windows 8.1, which entails retraining employees and losing productivity as a result, Balsarotti said migrating to Microsoft's latest OS is "simply not a good business decision to a meaningful segment of users and organizations."
"I'd imagine that paying for ongoing XP support pales in comparison to the costs of transitioning to Windows 8.1, which has an iffy lifespan ahead of it anyway," Balsarotti told CRN.
But just because the IRS had to get a support extension from Microsoft doesn't mean it's going to have trouble handling U.S. citizens' tax returns. In a statement provided to Re/code last week, the IRS said none of its tax-season-related systems are running XP.
"The IRS emphasizes the situation involving Windows will have no impact on taxpayers, including people filing their tax returns in advance of the April 15 deadline," an IRS spokesperson told Re/code.
PUBLISHED APRIL 14, 2014