The Hill tells us:
“The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) will pay Microsoft $9,149,000 through the contract, which was approved earlier this month. It could eventually grow to be as large as $30,842,980 by 2017.
“The funds will pay for Microsoft to provide custom security support to up to 100,000 Windows XP machines used by the Navy. Microsoft has abandoned supporting the system for users who don’t pay for the custom services. The contract will also provide support for other older Microsoft products, including Office 2003.”
The problem is that the Navy built custom programs on Windows XP that cannot move forward to whatever the hell release of Windows is now, so they will have to be rewritten. US Corporations did this, too, and paid millions to MS to keep XP alive for at least a decade after MS first tried to kill it off. The adoption rate of subsequent releases of Windows has been slow, customers are doing whatever it takes to keep old releases alive, including the Navy.
“In particular, Microsoft Premier Support Services and Custom Support Services maintain enterprise-wide Microsoft capabilities to ensure Navy warfighters have connectivity to their respective networks and to the data necessary to support and accomplish their mission.”
There’s a lot of FAIL (as the kids used to say) in this story, but it is not all the Navy’s fault. MS’ business plan—which has been highly successful—sort of forces people to buy all new editions every few years. The Navy’s IT department should have seen this coming.
Personally, I find it disturbing that our military is paying extra to use obsolete equipment and software that crashes a lot and is a gold mine for hackers.