Official Microsoft support for its Windows XP operating system has finally ended. After 13 years, the operating system that still has a 27% market share in worldwide PCs is no longer ‘officially’ secure from hackers and malware, with Microsoft urging users to migrate to newer platforms like Windows 8 and 8.1.
The end of support deadline has and will massively affect businesses across the globe, and in a last minute effort to save face for some public organisations running XP in the UK, the Government has paid Microsoft £5.5 million to provide a custom support agreement to make sure computers at risk will be safe 12 months longer.
But are you or your company eligible for a custom support agreement with Microsoft?
The actual support enables organisations to carry on receiving Microsoft’s security updates until 14 April 2015, and it covers Windows XP SP3, Office 2003 SP3 and Exchange Server 2003 SP2.
The support covers the UK public sector which is defined as "organisations or entities eligible for PSA12 pricing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
"In addition, educational institutes eligible under the Memorandum of Understanding for UK schools and charities defined under the Microsoft Non-profit Program Eligibility criteria are able to access this agreement."
Your organisation also needs to work with 250 or more devices with Windows XP and it must have in place a signed and up-to-date Microsoft Premier Contract. If your organisation has less than 250 XP devices, you do not need a Microsoft Premier Contract.
If your organisation does not have a Microsoft Premier Contract, the Crown Commercial Service says: "a basic level premier support agreement is available, which provides reactive hours only (no onsite support), exclusively to those organisations utilising this centralised custom support agreement at a heavily reduced cost from a standard entry level contract.
"If you would like assistance placing a Microsoft Premier contract please contact us at email@example.com."
The Crown Commercial Services also reminds users that "it is important to recognise that this agreement is only for a period of one year and is intended to help support organisations as you progress your plans to migrate away from these products."