Well, just in time for tax day, don’t we have a treat here! Turns out, the IRS is not too great at meeting deadlines, either – even when they were given a good six years to meet one.
As you may have heard, Microsoft yanked support for Windows XP on April 8. You might also know that we all had advance warning – Microsoft said back in 2008 that 2014 was the target year for XP to pass into obsolescence. Six years later, and those purveyors of the unshakeable deadline at the IRS have failed to upgrade all of their computers to Windows 7. The bill to keep those computers still running on XP supported for the next year comes out to $500,000. Here’s the part where you fume about your very salient tax dollars paying for this.
A ComputerWorld report says that the IRS has 110,000 Windows machines on hand, 52,000 of which have been duly upgraded. The rest, over half, will need patches specially made by Microsoft over the course of this year, patches that will exist only because the IRS (and, I assume, a few others) couldn’t get their act together in the preceding six years. Upgrading the rest of the computers to Windows 7 is going to cost about $30 million, most of which should have already been paid by now. $500,000 of that is money that shouldn’t have been necessary in the first place, although ComputerWorld had originally estimated that the patches would cost $11.6 million for this year. Either way, it’s wasted money because someone couldn’t practice what they preach. You don’t even get the schadenfreude, because the IRS itself isn’t really going to be the one paying for it. That said, there is a silver lining here – the whole $30 million wad is coming out of the IRS’ enforcement budget, so less audits all around! Presumably.
So, what’s their excuse? What else? It’s this economy, man. Budget cuts. You know how it is.