Microsoft warns it will end support for key products, including Windows 7

According to a recent ZDnet article, Microsoft has warned of an end to tech support for certain key products, including Windows 7, Office 2010 SP1, and Windows Server 2003. “Mainstream” support for Windows 7 is scheduled to end January 13, 2015, while support for some key products will end as early as October 14, 2014. (For a full list of the Microsoft products reaching the end of support in over the next six months, click here.)

Windows 7, released in 2009, is the world’s most popular operating system, far outselling Windows 8, which was launched in 2012. In fact, when XP support ended this April, more people chose to migrate to Windows 7 than the newer Windows 8. But Microsoft will stop “mainstream” support in January for Windows 7 and transition to “extended” support, which typically includes free security fixes but other types of updates are paid and require specific licensing deals. While there is a grace period, if you are running Windows 7, a recent Forbes article warns that you need to be sure you are running the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 to access the extended service.

So now that “mainstream” support for Windows 7 ends in 6 months, Microsoft will likely turn its energy to developing and introducing the next best thing. So what should we expect from Microsoft in the coming months?

According to Channelnomics: “Microsoft may hint at the forthcoming Windows 9, codename: Threshold, which is expected to hit the market in early 2015…Like Windows 7 was a correction to Vista, Windows 9 will likely be a make-good on Windows 8. It’s rumored the new version will sense the type of device in use, booting into either a traditional desktop mode or touch-enabled interface.”

As we have been saying, technology now becomes obsolete at an increasing pace. For example, XP support stopped earlier this year and Microsoft is Windows 7 is being phased out after only 5 years. Now more than ever, businesses need to reevaluate their technology replacement cycle in order to avoid the risks of obsolete or aging technology (see Sinu blog from earlier this year). As a start, plan your company’s operating budget assuming a 3-4 year lifespan for your hardware devices. Use the Sinu Store as a guideline of what today’s devices cost and plan to replace 20-30% of your company’s devices yearly to ensure no device is more than 4 years old. (To access the Sinu Store, go to Sinu Support and click the STORE tab on the far right.) If you plan according to the lifecycle now dictated by today’s technology industry, your business will be healthier, your team more productive, and your budget will have fewer surprises.