For Windows XP users, the clock really is ticking as the deadline for the end of support looms ever-closer. The end of support means no more patches, no more updates and the risk of an insecure system. This is a problem for home users, but far more serious for businesses, particularly when the business is the health of the nation.
A little over a month ago we wrote about the fact that the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK still has a huge number of computers that run XP. At the time it was hoped that an arrangement could be reached that would give the NHS support for an additional three years to give a little more time to transition to Windows 8.
Talks are still taking place between Microsoft and the UK government in the hope that a deal can be struck. Extended support is still available to those will to pay ($200 for the first year), but the hope is that a cut price deal can be struck to help reduce the costs of upgrading medical systems.
The Register suggests that the high price tag that has been attached to extended support is a final push by Microsoft to encourage everyone, including big businesses, away from XP.
Sources have revealed to The Register that Microsoft may be willing to extend support for health service computers for a year, and while there are no details about the costs involved just yet, it would be reasonable to expect them to be below the previously quoted price. If the deal goes ahead, different parts of the health service will not be obliged to participate -- budgets for individual departments are managed separately, so it will be a matter of choice rather than an enforced policy.
It's not clear how far from reaching a conclusion the talks are, but a spokesperson for the Department of Health said: "We are currently negotiating a package of support with Microsoft for the wider NHS system and expect an agreement to be concluded shortly."