Sure, you can keep Grandpa Windows 7 snug in the old code home – for a price

Microsoft turns the screws on those living in the past


The Bad News Bus has paid a visit to enterprises still prevaricating over what to do about their fleet of Windows 7 PCs as the end of support inches closer.

Figures obtained by veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley point to a price that escalates the longer a company holds off on making the jump to pastures new. As Microsoft promised.

According to numbers apparently shared by Microsoft with its partners and sales teams, Windows Enterprise customers will be expected to stump up $25, $50 and $100 per device for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively. Customers sticking with Windows 7 Professional will have to pay $50, $100 and $200 for same years. The final hammer will come down in January 2023.

How much Brits will pay will depend on numerous things including how big the deal is and the type of volume licensing contract they have, according to a UK source who preferred to remain anonymous. Based on past form, it'll be more than the US has to shell out.

It will all feel depressingly familiar to anyone who endured the paid-for support grudgingly extended by the Windows giant back in the days when the gang at Redmond were trying their hardest to kill off Windows XP.

The arguments for and against remain the same too – for many, paying the protection patch money buys a bit more breathing space before dealing with updating the platform. The bill is simply going to get bigger and bigger the longer Windows 7 lingers on.

We've contacted Microsoft to check what worldwide costs are likely to be, but have received no response as yet.

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How much an enterprise actually pays will, of course, also depend on how good their deal makers are. The US dollar figures above compare favourably with how much Microsoft was charging to keep XP alive. Back in 2014, the list price was $200 per desktop for the first year alone. The UK government memorably struck a deal to buy its ageing XP fleet an extra year for £5.584m, which it reckoned was a saving of in excess of £20m on "standard" pricing.

As Microsoft's Jared Spataro confirmed back in September 2018 these figures are only for Enterprise customers. Mere mortals reluctant to prod their home Windows 7 installation too hard need not apply. Unless it is to upgrade to Windows 10.

There is, of course, a way around these fees. For customers who absolutely must have their Windows 7 desktop, Microsoft has also stated that Enterprise users who choose to run the thing on its upcoming Azure-powered Windows Virtual Desktop can expect those updates to arrive free of charge.

The public preview of the service, which was promised by the end of 2018, has yet to put in an appearance. ®


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