Software King of the World Microsoft has consigned its Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to silicon heaven.
Vole stopped providing copies of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 licences to OEMs which means that you should not be able to find one in the shops.
Two years ago, Microsoft stopped selling Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, and Windows 7 Ultimate licenses to OEMs. With Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 out of the picture Windows 10 is the only remaining option. Unless you want Linux.
The Windows Lifecycle chart for sales doesn’t have an end date for Windows 10, since that operating system doesn’t have a successor.
Mainstream Support for Windows 7 ended on January 13, 2015 while Mainstream Support for Windows 8.1 will end on January 9, 2018. In theory Windows 10 will still get it until October 13, 2020.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update, released in August 2016 and a new version, the Windows 10 Creators Update, is slated to arrive in “early 2017”.
Software King of the World Microsoft is ending mainstream support for its Windows 8 operating system.
Vole killed off support for Windows 7 at this time last year and now Windows 8’s security updates will be coming to an end on the 12th of January, 2016.
This might seem a little strange as Windows 8 was only released in 2012, and Vole normally gives you a decade of support before killing it off. But this is more to do with the fact that Windows 8.1 is such a different beastie from Windows 8 that Microsoft is seeing them as different operating systems.
Given that Windows 8 was pretty pants, most users will have given up on it and upgraded anyway. Those who have not will not get support. If users upgrade to Windows 8.1 or even Windows 10, that support will be extended to 2023.
In addition to ending security updates for Windows 8, just last week Microsoft also announced that they will be ending support for older builds of Internet Explorer, namely versions 8, 9, and 10 which all come to an end also on the 12 January.
Market research company Gartner said today it thinks migration to Microsoft’s Windows 10 will be the fastest ever.
Gartner believes that 50 percent of enterprises will start Windows 10 deployments by January 2017.
The free upgrade to people with Windows 8 and Windows 7 means that tens of millions of people will be familiar with Windows 10 by the end of this year.
Enterprises will take the plunge because they’re aware that Windows 7 will end its days in 2020.
Steve Kleynhams, a research VP at Gartner, said that his company expects implementation will be “significantly more rapid” than that seen with Windows 7 six years ago.
Gartner also believes that by 2018 a third of all notebooks will have touchscreens, with prices dropping in the second half of 2017.
Like other PC vendors, Acer’s roadmap has been a bit rocky of late but according to reports the company is optimistic about the future.
Tiffany Huang, Acer president of operations, told reporters that the channels are still stuffed with Windows 8 based PCs but that’s an improvement on affairs barely three months ago.
The Taipei Times reported that she said that by the first quarter of next year, Acer Windows 10 PCs will exceed shipments of Windows 8 PCs.
Acer claims to be the number one Windows 10 PC vendor in Asia and in Europe.
Huang said she expected growth during this quarter due to people being attracted by Windows 10 and Chromebooks, 2-in-1 notebooks and gaming notebooks doing well.
Acer is believed to be nursing a grudge against Microsoft, after the launch last week of a high end notebook which effectively competes with Acer’s own high end notebooks.
Microsoft has denied it is competing with its customers and has claimed it’s competing with Apple, really.
Not happy with putting in “features” into Windows 10 which many fear might be spying on them, Microsoft has been quietly retro-fitting similar software into Windows 7 and 8.
In April, Microsoft released a non-security update for both Windows 7 and 8. This update, 3022345, created a new Windows service called the Diagnostics Tracking service.
Microsoft told us that it increased the amount of diagnostic data that the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) can collect to better diagnose problems. It also collected data for third party applications that use the Application Insights service. Application Insights allows app developers to track performance issues, crashes, and other problems of their applications. The Diagnostics Tracking service collects this data and sends it to Redmond.
Since then Microsoft has updated the service twice. Updates 3068708 and 3080149 installed automatically with the normal Windows Update settings. While another update, 3075249, enhanced the User Account Control (UAC) feature to enable it to collect more information from the elevation prompts.
It is all very Windows 10. Users don’t know what’s being sent, and it can’t be readily controlled. There is little chance of interception as the traffic is encrypted. Windows Firewall can blocking the traffic and disabling the service is also possible.
However it is unlikely that many will know or do so. It is not clear why Microsoft is suddenly becoming all obsessive about collecting user data.
Yusuf Mehdi, who is in charge of marketing for Windows and devices said today there are over 75 million devices running its Windows 10 operating system.
In his blog, he said that Windows 10 is running in 192 countries across the world.
Even ancient devices from remote times – 2007 – have been upgraded to Windows 10, he said.
We don’t know what Windows 10’s personal assistant Cortana is like, but Mehdi claims it’s told over half a million jokes since launch.
Windows Store for Windows 10 has seen six times more app downloads per device than Windows 8 – we have no problem believing that.
Microsoft introduced a free upgrade for people with Windows 8 and Windows 7 machines. Windows 10 is yet unproved, and most pundits agree Windows 8 was a shocker.
Windows 7 is regarded as stable but there’s no doubt large enterprises will take a long hard look at Windows 10 before going the whole hog.
While Microsoft has now confirmed that PC versions of Windows 10 will ship at the end of July, and versions for other machines later, there is considerable confusion in the market about how the firm will price up its offerings.
Windows 10 is being offered free to users of Windows 7 and the benighted Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 – but reports suggest that the picture is far from clear on how Microsoft will tackle the OEM end of the market.
According to a report in Taiwanese wire Digitimes, Microsoft has muddied the waters by offering discounts in a failed bit to compete with Google Chromebooks.
The report suggests that Microsoft is now offering discounts depending on the specifications of the hardware with the cheapest charge being $15.
And that’s discouraging some vendors of high end machines.
Nevertheless, it’s believed that Microsoft will encourage vendors like Acer and Lenovo to supply Windows 10 notebooks costing no more than $250.
These are supposed to compete with Chromebooks but it could be the move is too little, too late.
The UK government has decided not to renew a service agreement with Microsoft for continuing support of Windows XP computers and that means thousands of machines will be vulnerable to hacking.
According to the Guardian, last year the government paid £5.5 million to continue supporting Windows XP computers and its own digital unit said XP machines will now be exploitable.
While the government stumped up for extended support last year, each department is now expected to make its own deal with Microsoft for patches and the like.
The government has pledged to upgrade its Windows machines but some have made slow progress and there may be an understandable reluctance to move to Windows 8.1, given that Windows 10 will arrive this year.
Despite the fact that the situation is patchy, the Guardian report said that departments have been sternly told not to use unsupported software.
The CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) appears to have spilled the beans on the date Windows 10 will be introduced.
At last week’s conference call to discuss AMD’s rather dismal earnings,CEO Lisa Su said that Windows 10 will arrive at the end of July.
Whether that’s the due date is a different matter – typically as one of Microsoft’s partners, AMD is likely to get advance notice of the introduction.
Windows 10 was originally supposed to launch in Autumn and that could still be on the cards.
It takes some time for Microsoft to prime its channel and its market partners with product – typically an introduction in September is more likely to catch the back to school wave.
However, Windows 10 is already late and it’s entirely feasible it is bringing the date forward.
Microsoft is hoping for big things from Windows 10 after Windows 8.x was greeted with an air of indifference by many because of its design. Microsoft is going back to basics and it hopes people will like Windows 10 as much as they liked Windows 7 and Windows XP, and it hopes people will not dislike the next operating system as much as they disliked Vista and Windows 8.x.
Microsoft is set to announce what it will be doing with Windows 9, codenamed Threshold at the BUILD developer conference in April 2014.
Build will hit just weeks after Microsoft completes its corporate reorganisation and is likely to concentrate on Windows Phone and Xbox.
But according to Winsupersite, Vole is going to announce its plans for “Threshold”.
Needless to say, Threshold will see the return of the Start menu and the ability to run Metro-style apps on the desktop alongside desktop applications.
Vole has had some serious problems convincing the world that Windows 8 was a good idea Windows 8.1, which is a substantial and free upgrade with major improvements over the original release, is only being used on 25 million PCs.
Part of Microsoft’s problem was that it moved too fast to set up a version of Windows which could be used across mobile stuff and PCs. In emphasising mobile use, it put off its core PC base. Now the OS is being seen as Vista without the charm.
Word on the super information strasse is that Vole is even considering dropping the Windows 8 name and will brand the next Windows 8 upgrade as Windows 9.
Threshold is going to be a little more long term in the planning and Vole wants to generate something a little more exciting than “it is not Windows 8”.
Microsoft is expected to begin development on Threshold at the end of April so any announcement at BUILD will just be a firming up which features it intends to deliver in this release. The real realease will be April 2015.
Vole will claim that Windows 9 wouldn’t have been possible without the important “foundational work” – read cockup – it had done first with Windows 8, but this is what it said with Windows 7 and Windows Vista. However, it does mean that Windows 8 has set back Microsoft, and Windows, by years, and possibly for good.
Whatever happens, the release of Windows 9, in whatever form it is delivered, could make or break Microsoft.