Councils to benefit from free extended Microsoft support

Details have emerged of which councils will qualify for ongoing support for Microsoft Window XP, Office 2003 email and Exchange 2003 server products under a deal struck by the government with the digital giant.

Yesterday, the Cabinet Office announced that a deal had been struck with Microsoft to maintain critical and important security updates for 12 months beyond 8 April, when support was due to expire.

Local government will not pay anything towards the contract price of £5.548 million, but will be able to access the service on a number of conditions.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “This is an important deal, which will provide continuity for all eligible government and public sector organisations while they migrate on to alternative operating systems.”

It is understood that in order to access the agreement and the security updates:

  • Organisations with 250 or more devices with Windows XP must have a Microsoft Premier contract;
  • Organisations with fewer than 250 devices with Windows XP do not need a Microsoft Premier contract;
  • Organisations requiring custom support for Exchange 2003 must have a Microsoft Premier contract in place regardless of their size.

The government estimates that the deal will deliver projected savings in excess of £20m against standard pricing over the next 12 months

A Microsoft spokesperson said: ”Agreements such as these do not remove the need to move off Windows XP as soon as possible.”

The deal was negotiated on behalf of the public sector by  the Local Government Association and the Crown Commercial Representative for Software, Rob Wilmot.

Wilmot said: “By combining demand, on behalf of central government departments and the wider public sector, Crown Commercial Service has demonstrated the benefits of government working as a single customer to achieve best value for the taxpayer, whilst continuing to build good working relationships with our technology suppliers.”

Colin Marrs

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