IRS to Spend $30 Million on Upgrades and Post-Retirement XP Patches

Paul Lilly

IRS is paying Microsoft to recieve custom XP patches after failing to upgrade in time

Microsoft put the whole world on notice that it intended to end support for Windows XP, and as the deadline came closer into view, Redmond's attempt to get users to upgrade intensified. Unfortunately for taxpayers, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service ignored the warnings and watched the deadline come and go. As a result, the IRS will pay Microsoft hundreds of thousands of dollars to continue receiving out-of-retirement security patches for another year.

An agency source told Computerworld that the amount it's paying Microsoft for its Custom Support option is "less than $500,000" and not in the millions of dollars range as originally reported. Computerworld had come up with a much higher estimate based on analysts saying Microsoft typically charges around $200 per PC for the first year of Custom Support. At that rate, the IRS would have been on the hook for $11.6 million for a single year of XP support for its remaining 58,000 XP machines. Apparently the IRS negotiated a much lower rate in the neighborhood of $9 per PC.

In addition to post-XP support, the IRS still has the cost of migrating to Windows 7. Between the two, the IRS will spend $30 million. The good news for taxpayers is that none of this will affect tax filings or processing refunds.

"None of our filing season systems or other major business operating systems for taxpayers use Windows XP," an IRS spokesperson said Friday. "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."

The migration to Windows 7 is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

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