Despite reaching its official end of life over a year ago, Microsoft's Windows XP is still bringing the company some significant revenue—largely because Department of Defense and government customers can't seem to get rid of it. And the Navy is one of Microsoft's best custom-support customers.
The US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) has closed a $9.1 million contract extension with Microsoft that the agency originally announced in April to further extend custom support for the venerable Windows XP operating system, as well as the Office 2003 suite and Exchange 2003 e-mail. According to a Navy contracting announcement, "Across the United States Navy, approximately 100,000 workstations currently use these applications. Support for this software can no longer be obtained under existing agreements with Microsoft because the software has reached the end of maintenance period."
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).