Gaze upon yonder picture, little ones. It may be the last time that you ever see a fresh install of Windows 7. Microsoft very quietly and very sneakily ended retail sales of Windows 7 last year, warning users that stock of the OS licenses on shelves would be returned on 30 October 2013, despite it being officially the most popular desktop operating system on the personal computer.
Now it’s time to remind you that 2014 is the year that Microsoft kills it off in the consumer space for good.
The company announced back in December 2013 that the cut-off date for sales of the outgoing OS was 30 October 2013 for retail copies and 30 October 2014 for OEM computers pre-assembled by the major manufacturers. Numerous boutique system builders and OEMs took advantage of this, with Hewlett-Packacrd (HP) now-famously offering all of its laptops with equivalent Windows 7 versions of Windows 8. Fujitsu Siemens also bundles in Windows 7 licenses with their hardware and Acer at some point was offering a boot screen which allows customers to select which verison of Windows they wanted to use and install.
If your biggest partners don’t like the idea of bundling Windows 8 with new hardware, then perhaps that’s a sign that the UI shift isn’t sitting well with customers.
The OEM cutoff date also comes three months before the 13 January 2014 cutoff date for mainstream support for the OS. From that moment on, it enters into extended support, where it’ll receive updates to close backdoors, loopholes and to improve security. Extended support ends on 14 Janaury 2020.
Windows 8, including all of its update packs, sees the end of mainstream support on 9 January 2018 with a final extended support cutoff date on 10 January 2023.
Would this be less of an issue for Microsoft if they could make Windows a part of an online subscription, or otherwise charge for buying a new copy of Windows, but make upgrade editions free of charge for the remainder of the life of your PC? That’s what the company is currently toying with now, with rumors that Windows 9 will do away with basic license keys and be linked to an account that you’ll have created in Microsoft’s online store.
Who’s moving to another platform/OS and who’s sticking to Windows 7 until extended support ends?