The impending retirement of Windows XP and Office 2003
shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. As I’ve noted before
, Microsoft has a well-established support lifecycle
for its software products. It’s basically an agreement that the company makes with everyone who commits to Windows. The terms of that agreement don’t change often, which is an important assurance for business customers who tend to be conservative in their approach to upgrades.
For the next six months and counting, Microsoft will officially offer support for five versions of Windows for desktop and notebook PCs. Here’s the rundown, starting with the newest member of the family:
Microsoft’s official Windows 8.1 Support Lifecycle Policy
treats this update as if it were a service pack for Windows 8. That means the lifecycle calculations start when Windows 8 shipped, in 2012.
This version is currently available only for Microsoft’s volume licensing customers, MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and hardware OEM partners. It will be available to the public as a free update and in retail packages on October 18, 2013.
Mainstream support ends: January 9, 2018
Extended support ends: January 10, 2023