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Business users force Microsoft to back off Windows 10 PC kill plan

Support for Skylake kit extended until end of life for Windows 7 and 8.1

Microsoft has backed down on its plan to hustle owners of certain PCs to Windows 10 by crimping support options.

Redmond revealed the plan last January, when it decreed that PCs running 6th-generation Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs and Windows 7 would only get limited security and stability support until mid-2017. By March it backed off a little, extending support for another year and promising critical patches would flow until end of life.

On Thursday US time it gave up and extended full support until the operating systems' planned end of life.

Microsoft's explanation is that while “Enterprise customers are moving to Windows 10 faster than any version of Windows … we recognize that, in some instances, customers have a few systems that require longer deployment timeframes.”

Microsoft “listened to this feedback” and changed its policy, which it says will mostly impact “our commercial customers who are currently managing deployments with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.”

All of which sounds like a humiliating backdown after a goodly number of business users told Microsoft just where it can shove its shortened support offerings, because they'll buy PCs when it suits them and not when Microsoft forces them to do so.

Folks operating the PCs listed here can therefore keep running them with Windows 8.1 and 7 until they exit support, on January 1st, 2023 and January 14th 2020 respectively.

Microsoft's tried all manner of tactics to move users to Windows 10, with cynically ignoring UI conventions, thrusting full-screen pseudo-ads at users, and even sneaking upgrade reminders into security updates.

While the company trumpeting the OS' installation on 350 million machines as a triumph, it's also admitted that it will miss its target of a billion installs by 2018. Android, meanwhile, is finding its way onto over one billion devices a year.

Surely someone senior inside Microsoft will be principled enough to ask if all the ill-will its nagging efforts have generated are really worth it? ®


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