The public sector has been urged not to commit to any deals for extended Windows XP support as the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and Microsoft finalise an agreement to provide public bodies with a further year of support.
Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP in less than two weeks' time, after which operating systems will be left open to a range of security risks.
CRN research found that the majority of councils will be running XP after the deadline, with 20 per cent of devices in councils that responded to our Freedom of Information requests expected to be running the 13-year-old operating system after 8 April.
But a deal that is being signed off between the CCS and Microsoft could see public bodies offered a lifeline - for 12 months at least.
According to a Cabinet Office email sent to public bodies - which CRN has seen via an FOI response - authorities will have the chance to buy extended support for XP as part of a deal Microsoft is set to strike with the CCS.
CRN understands the deal will likely be announced next week, but neither Microsoft nor the Cabinet Office had anything to say on the matter when asked.
In light of the imminent deal, public bodies have been urged not to sign any extended support agreements until the deal has been struck.
An email to councils from the Cabinet Office that was sent this week said: "We are writing to advise you that the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is currently finalising details of a Crown agreement with Microsoft that will provide all eligible public sector organisations with a further one-year support for these products to help with their migration plans."
It stressed to councils - in capital letters - that making their own arrangements for extended support was not advised.
"If you are currently planning or negotiating an agreement for extended support for these products we recommend that you do not make any commitments at this time."
According to CRN's investigation, most councils which will be running XP after the 8 April will have fully migrated within the 12 months, with just a few councils expecting to run XP until next summer and beyond.
Firm says enterprise business has performed 'weaker than originally expected'
Top executives from nine VARs, including Computacenter, Bell Integration, XMA, ANS and Epaton, weigh in on which server, storage and networking technologies will be red hot next year
Are partners encouraged by the big changes coming to Cisco next year? Josh Budd, content editor of CRN sister publication Channelnomics Europe, finds out
Thomas Kurian will join the company next week and transition into the top role in January