MICROSOFT has tweaked its draconian policy on Intel Skylake devices and end of life (EOL) dates. Originally, the plan had been to cut off support for Windows 7 and 8.1 users with 6th-Generation Intel Core (Skylake) based equipment on 17 July 2018.
Given that this announcement was made before Skylake chips were in widespread use, it seemed a bit dramatic, limiting the potential life of a computer bought today.
We kind of pushed back on this idea a bit (ok, a lot) and it now it seems that Microsoft has made a U-turn. Not because of us particularly, since you ask, though this was already an extension from the original date of 2017.
In a new blog post titled "Updates to Silicon Support Policy for Windows", Shad Larsen, director of Windows Business Planning, explains that Skylake will now be supported to the EOL dates of the applicable operating system.
In the case of Windows 7, that's 14 January 2020, and for Windows 8.1 it's 10 January 2023. For users of Windows 8, that product is actually already EOL and you should update to Windows 8.1 immediately - though Windows 10 is no longer available as a freebie, the 8 to 8.1 path remains open and indeed highly recommended.
Microsoft explains: "This change is made possible through the strong partnership with our OEM partners and Intel who will be performing security update validation testing and upgrade testing for 6th Gen Intel Core systems running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 through the end of support dates."
Which, of course, they would have had to do all along if Microsoft had respected the EOL dates.
And (wait for it) "This change is designed to help our customers purchase modern hardware with confidence while continuing to manage their migrations to Windows 10. "
Let's translate this into what we think really happened.
Microsoft tried to push forward with built-in obsolescence during its desperate attempts to get everyone to upgrade as soon as possible. Businesses who aren't ready to update yet started to get cold feet about buying new hardware. The hardware industry, already under the cosh of falling hardware sales, leant on Microsoft, and now that consumers don't have a freebie option anymore anyway, Microsoft has climbed down and come out looking like the good guys.
Are we close, Microsoft?
It even comes with the frankly amazing coda: "We recommend that customers upgrade these 6th Gen Intel Core systems on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as soon as possible so that they can receive full support along with the great enhancements that come from running modern hardware with modern software" - a complete contradiction to previous advice.
Stoop low much, Satya? µ
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