While trying to figure out if they can upgrade to Windows 10 for free, the US Navy is taking a different route. It's for a little longer.
It's not quite as ridiculous as it sounds. Microsoft stopped supporting the now ancient Windows XP in April of last year which means no more security updates. But the US Navy--and other hulking bureaucracies like the UK government--are still reliant on it and can't move quite fast enough to switch to something newer right away. It's not just a matter of hitting an upgrade button; these guys have special software they might need to rewrite entirely. The solution? Pay Microsoft to keep things going.
Right before the XP cut-off deadline, the UK government for continued support, and now the US Navy . It's not that the Navy isn't trying to switch over. It's been slowly moving toward the future since 2013. But at least 100,000 computers are left behind, some of which are connected to SIPRnet, the US government's network for classified information.
In addition to Windows XP, the contract with Microsoft extends support and security patches for Windows Server 2003 which reaches end of life this July. The contract is open to extension into 2017 which means it could total over $30 million dollars all told. At the rate it's moving, the Navy ought to see if it can get ahead of the game and start moving to Windows 11.