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Last week Microsoft announced changes to their Modern Desktop servicing and support policies, providing organisations with more choice and flexibility around when they need to upgrade to later versions of the products to remain supported. Here is a list of the important changes from their announcement:
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be made available to volume licence customers, for either Windows 7 Pro or Windows 7 Enterprise. Extended Security Updates will be sold on a per-device basis and can extend the support provided by Microsoft to Windows 7 devices through to January 2023. Prices for Extended Security Updates will increase each year. Extended Security Updates will provide customers on Windows 7 with security and bug fixes, patching operating system vulnerabilities beyond January 2020, and protecting against cyber-attacks. This option provides flexibility to organisations by allowing them to delay their upgrade to Windows 10, and although we anticipate this option will be commercially unattractive for most customers, it can be included as an option in business cases when organisations are seeking funding for a Windows 10 upgrade project.
The above statements are a reflection that Microsoft have listened to customer concerns about the rapid support cycles associated with the latest versions of their Modern Desktop applications and services. They have made these changes to reduce the impact associated with the adoption of the products.
I was both surprised and pleased by the above announcements, particularly the changes to Windows as-a-Service. Although many of our customers have raised concerns about the operational impact associated with the semi-annual test, remediation and release cycle, I didn’t expect to see any changes to the support model by Microsoft.
Additionally, the Windows as-a-Service changes further strengthen the argument for purchasing Windows 10 Enterprise, rather than sticking with Pro. The Windows 7 extended servicing provides customers with an additional option when they are planning their Windows 10 upgrade, allowing them to delay the upgrade without exposing their Windows 7 device estate to increased risks. I’m not entirely sure paying for extended support is always going to be the best choice for organisations, as inevitably they will be forced to upgrade to Windows 10 by 2023 anyway. Regarding this, sourcing Windows 7 compatible devices is also still a challenge (if not impossible), but at least there is a choice now!
Should you wish to review the official Microsoft announcement, it can be found in the following blog article.
If you'd like to find out more about these changes to the Microsoft modern desktop servicing and support policies, please get in touch with your account manager, or contact us using the link below.
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