According to a recently modified contract between Microsoft and the US Navy, the armed services branch is shelling out over $9 million to continue using old Microsoft products, including Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2003, and Windows Server 2003.
The agreement enlists Microsoft Premier Support services and Microsoft Custom Support services to continue to provide critical software hotfixes to sustain deployed capabilities.
The contract gives the Navy some wiggle room. According to the contract release, the hope is that migrations will be completed in July of 2016, but the contract remains valid until June 2017, bumping the cumulative value to over $30 million. This is an amended contract, suggesting that even 2017 may not be a hard deadline should the US Navy not amass enough gumption to migrate in the next two years.
Support for Windows XP, Microsoft Exchange 2003, and Office 2003 ended in April 2014. Windows Server 2003 retires next month on July 15.
According to Steven A. Davis, a spokesman for the armed services, these products are used on shore and offshore in naval carriers and battleships. This comes at a time when successful intrusions into US government installations, including the Whitehouse, are becoming regular news stories and makes you wonder if the US Navy is taking these seriously. It's understandable that running legacy systems can speedbump migrations, but in an increasingly dangerous cyber landscape, it seems a bit odd to hold on to unsecure systems.