Banks have no choice but to upgrade their ATM systems this year when Microsoft cuts off the technical support for Windows XP â€“ the operating system most used by cash machines worldwide.
â€œWindows XP powers more than 95 percent of the worldâ€™s machines and a similar percentage in the USâ€ says Robert Johnson, marketing director of NCR, one of the largest ATM suppliers in US, as reported by Bloomberg Businessweek.
The 420,000 ATMs in the USA using Windows XP will no longer receive security patches from Microsoft, rendering them non-compliant with current industry and security standards. Some cash machines will get upgraded to Windows 7 (available in the market since October 2009) while others will continue to use XP Embedded – a stripped-down version of XP – for which Microsoft will offer support until 2016.
Many operators of ATMs, from stores with outdated cash machines to national banks overseeing tens of thousands of terminals, are concerned about the fast approaching deadline, says Suzanne Cluckey, an editor with ATM Marketplace, an online portal with news about the industry.
â€œThe ATM world is not really ready, and thatâ€™s not unusual,â€ said Aravinda Korala, CEO of ATM software provider KAL. â€œThe ATMs move more slowly than PCsâ€.
In meeting these issues, Microsoft will offer custom tech support deals to extend the life of Windows XP per request and give banks and ATM handlers time for a safe transition.