After pulling out support for Windows XP, Microsoft has announced a new deadline, following which it will cease offering most versions of Windows 7 to OEMs. Starting October 31, OEMs will be able to install Windows 7 only on new machines, and until the “stocks last”. However, it comes with the exception for Windows & professional that gets the reprieve for now.
This is Microsoft’s usual way after cutting on retail sales. TheInquirer points out, “It comes exactly one year after Microsoft ended retail sales for all versions of Windows 7, although at the time of writing, many retailers still have stock for sale. It is Microsoft’s usual practice to withdraw OEM supply a year to the day after stopping retail sales.”
The company is expected to continue support for Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 until January 13, 2015. After that, the company will offer security fixes for free until the end of extended support – January 14, 2020. “Microsoft’s next diary date for Windows 7 will be 13 January 2015, when it will drop mainstream support. This essentially means that the product will be considered ‘finished’ and Microsoft will perform no further development on it beyond patches and bug fixes,” adds the report. Some reports have been suggesting that the company may try to “suppress Windows version fragmentation with free and heavily subsidised offers for the Windows 9 upgrade.”
Windows 8 wasn’t widely accepted by users and the company is known to be taking a complete ‘U turn’ with its next iteration of Windows. The company has sent out invitations for its event called a chance to “hear about what’s next for Windows and the enterprise” to be held on September 30. It will talk in broad strokes about features aimed at corporate users for the next version of Windows, which people are informally calling “Windows 9″.
One of the most consistent rumours and a highly anticipated feature of Windows 9 is said to be the return of the Start Menu. One can also expect windowed apps, virtual desktops, shutdown on start screen and unified taskbar.