Don’t get me wrong, I suspect Microsoft won’t continue to supports its operating system releases for 10 full years. But as things stand we know exactly when the current Windows editions drop out of support:
- Windows XP SP3: April 8, 2014
- Windows Vista SP2: April 11, 2017
- Windows 7 SP1: January 14, 2020
- Windows 8: January 10, 2023
Yes, Microsoft could change those dates, but the corporate customers will cry foul and the licence fees will get that bit harder to collect. So here we are…
Microsoft knows there are valid reasons to skip a Windows release; maintaining compatibility with legacy applications, long-tail software upgrade cycles, perhaps even in line with with hardware replacement, training, incremental benefits and borderline ROI (Return on Investment).
As has been said, the copy of Windows 7 you’re running today will not stop working when Windows 8 is released. Windows 7 will be supported until January 2015, with extended support until 2020. Windows 7 PC’s will still be on sale at retailers, and Windows 7 boxed versions will be on shelves until at least October 25th 2013. OEM’s will stock PC’s with Windows 7 pre-loaded until October 25th, 2014.
In that time we may well see the release of Windows 9, 10 and possibly 11, if the intent to shorten release cycles comes good. So if you don’t see the benefit of moving to Windows 8, you don’t have to.
Who knows, by 2014, Windows itself may be a defunct platform. Just kidding. AJS