Ed Bott of ZDNet managed to spot a revision that Microsoft snuck into its support policy sometime this month that ups the support duration ante for Microsoft’s two latest consumer operating systems — Vista and 7 — to 10 years. He initially noticed it on the Microsoft Japan webpage, but shortly after received confirmation from Microsoft U.S. PR that this revision is in fact valid:
Microsoft is updating the Support Lifecycle policy for Windows desktop operating systems, including Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
The update will provide a more consistent and predictable experience for customers using Microsoft Windows operating systems across OEM, consumer and business editions.
Microsoft still requires that customers have the most current Service Pack installed in order to continue to receive updates.
Through this update, customers who remain on the most current supported service pack will be eligible to receive both Mainstream and Extended Support, for a total of 10 years.
Bott notes that one must not mistake the support lifecycle of Windows for its sales lifecycle; you can’t purchase a retail copy of XP or Vista today. Once Windows 8 launches later this year, Microsoft will be supporting a total of 4 operating systems at once, until Windows XP reaches the end of its support lifecycle on April 4th, 2014. That’s right; in about two years, the OS that has clung onto the PCs of various users worldwide will finally not be supported. If any of you are reading this on Windows XP, I highly recommend that you upgrade to a modern operating system.