Microsoft to end Support Early for some Windows 7/8.1 Computers

Microsoft MSFT 68,68 +0,23 +0,34% has announced on the Windows Blog they will stop supporting Windows 7/8.1 on computers running the latest chips from Intel INTC 35,86 +0,09 +0,25%, AMD or Qualcomm QCOM 59,22 -0,06 -0,10%.

Specifically these are listed as ‘Kaby Lake’ (Intel), ‘Bristol Ridge’ (AMD) and Qualcomm’s ‘8996’ (the base for the Snapdragon 820). Between them these chips will dominate sales of all new desktops, laptops, hybrids and tablets in 2016.

This means for user of devices using these chipsets as well as the current generation Intel Skylake processors the Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 deadlines of January 2020 and January 2023 no longer will apply. Instead the new deadline for both will be July 2017 unless “the most critical Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 security updates will be addressed for these configurations, and will be released if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices.”

Microsoft claim is these devices work better, more efficient and more securely with Windows 10 than with Windows 7 or 8.1. What is even more bizarre about this sudden change in policy is it being implemented first to Enterprise users (they will be the guinea pigs this time instead of the consumers).  This comes days after Microsoft has announced they would start forcing  offering Windows 10 to small businesses and organizations. Some very odd moves considering that the consumers were suppose to be the guinea pigs for upgrading to Windows 10 while business users would be left alone.

So Microsoft’s hope is that by refusing to provide updates to Windows 7/8.1 devices Enterprise users will take advantage of the ‘free upgrade’ to Windows 10. What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

First thing that comes to mind is an operating system upgrade is a major task and that is just for a single computer. I can’t see an Enterprise willing to spend the time (reimaging with Windows 10) and money to upgrade all their systems just because Microsoft is threatening to cut-off updates. That hasn’t stopped some businesses from continue to use Windows XP (that likely is due to the hardware not supporting Windows 7 more than anything else). Just saw the other day several employee computers at a local electronics big box store were still running Windows XP.

Second, as mentioned before currently 55% of the computers running Windows are running Windows 7. That means a good chunk of those enterprise computers that Microsoft wants upgrade to Windows 10 are still running Windows 7 (even if it may have come preloaded with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10).  These enterprises do this on purpose, so they only have to maintain, support (the OS itself and their employees) one operating system instead of three.

I don’t see this plan going Microsoft’s way as Enterprises are going to be a lot more resistant to Microsoft’s scare tactics, bullying and threats also known as the ‘Get Windows 10’ campaign. Cutting off support is not going to make a difference (again Windows XP) to these Enterprises. That is unless Microsoft resorts to deactivating the license key making that copy of Windows not Genuine. This would be more of an annoyance to the users, but if they are using other Microsoft products such as Outlook and Office then it would become a problem as those likely won’t run on a non-genuine copy of Windows. However, I think that would open Microsoft up to some serious legal actions (especially in the EU) if they pulled something like that.

Tune in later as we continue to follow Microsoft’s newest and bizarre attempts to force everyone to accept the free (as long as you don’t mind you computer phoning home to Microsoft and spying on you) upgrade to Windows 10.

via Forbes > Gordon Kelly.