The ending of support by Microsoft for its products is always a very touchy subject hence the Redmond software giant has been forced to move quickly to clear up confusion over the ending of support for Windows XP.
According to ZDNet, a statement on Microsoft’s website could be interpreted as meaning that support for Windows XP Home would end on 31st December 2006, five years after the product was first introduced, which would mean no more security patches for users.
This of course would have left users in a massive hole, as Vista, Microsoft’s long-delayed next generation operating system, has yet to arrive and there is still no definite news on a shipping date, although Microsoft has promised sometime in 2006.
Microsoft has now updated its site to show that support will now last until two years after the launch of Vista. This accurately reflects the change in Microsoft’s support policy in 2004, which extended support for two years after the next version of a product ships.
Windows XP Professional, because it is classed as a business product, will get extended support, including patches, for a further five years after the two year crossover with Vista.
The ending of support for a product is one stick Microsoft can use to force users of the “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality to upgrade, as without patches for the inevitable security flaws their machines are suddenly left vulnerable.
However, it is not something that goes down well with users hence the controversy over the ending of Windows 98 support, which saw Microsoft cave in and extend support to June 2006.
The whole issue of support will continue to be a touchy subject complicated by the ever-increasing gap between product updates. This is one reason why the software as a service model, trumpeted by such companies as Salesforce.com is proving increasingly popular.
Delivering software over the Internet allows updates and improvements to be delivered seamlessly and more frequently. Its no surprise to see Microsoft itself, looking at this model as the way to deliver software in the future