Cost of Not Leaving Windows 7? Millions of Taxpayer Dollars

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Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7 earlier this month sending the last updates to this decade-old operating system on January 14th. The end of support deadline was known for years with Microsoft sending reminders every now and then. Last year, the company also revealed its plan to offer quite a heavily-priced extended security updates (ESU) program for businesses that couldn't migrate their Windows 7 machines to Windows 10 in time.

Now that the extended support program has gone live, it appears governments are having to dump millions of dollars on keeping this now-outdated OS and the associated devices secure.

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Local media reports that the German government has to pay at least €800,000 ($886,000) for the first year of support to Microsoft. This includes support fees for over 33,000 machines that are still on Windows 7.

If these devices aren't upgraded by the next year, this number is only set to double as the extended support plan is designed to get pricier by the year. As a reminder, this is how much Windows 7 extended support program costs:

Year Windows Enterprise Windows 7 Pro
1 (January 2020 - January 2021) $25 per device $50 per device
2 (January 2021 - January 2022) $50 per device $100 per device
3 (January 2022 - January 2023) $100 per device $200 per device

Australia and Ireland reported to spend millions to secure Windows 7 devices

Reports from Australia are quoting an even bigger number. "The Department of Defence and the Australian Taxation Office recently entered into contracts with the government’s exclusive Microsoft licence reseller, Data#3, to extend support until at least 2021," iTnews reported.

The publication added that the contracts to secure Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 are worth AU $8.7 million.

Apparently the government upgraded its 105,000 devices running Windows XP to Windows 10 last year. This is the cost of the rest of the "Windows 7 environment," which will eventually have to be migrated to Windows 10. "Full migration of the remaining Windows 7 environment is planned over the next 12-24 months,” a government spokesperson said. “Defence is continuing to support Windows 7 to mitigate risk across the remaining infrastructure.”

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Ireland's Health Service Executive is also set to pay $1.2 million this year to receive security updates for 46,000 of its Windows 7 computers.

But taxpayers in Germany, Ireland, and Australia aren't alone since governments the world over have failed to migrate in time. Regardless of how much hate Windows 10 has received in the past few years, all of these departments will have to make the upgrade anyway since even the extended security updates will only be offered for three years and governments that looked into open source alternatives couldn't make it work, making it clear that Windows 10 is probably the only way forward for a majority of government departments and businesses.

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