In yet another effort to bring everyone into the Windows 10 boat, Microsoft announced on Friday that it is making some changes to its support policy, changes which - as you probably guessed right from the title - are going to cause quite a bit of a stir, especially for businesses.
The Redmond tech giant is proud of the fact that "over 200 million active devices already running Windows 10", but it wants more momentum than that, and even though some of its recent efforts have been perceived as a little too aggressive, this doesn't stop the company from taking yet another measure to ensure that it won't have to deal with undying devotion to old operating systems.
While consumers are quicker to upgrade their hardware and software, businesses are usually more conservative, and the process can take years, the new Microsoft is not that patient. The company has changed hardware requirements for supporting older versions of Windows, by only supporting new silicon on Windows 10 moving forward.
Compared to Windows 7 PC’s, Skylake when combined with Windows 10, enables up to 30x better graphics and 3x the battery life – with the unmatched security of Credential Guard utilizing silicon supported virtualization.
That being said, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will continue to receive updates through January 14, 2020 and January 10, 2023 respectively, and Microsoft is offering to help enterprises in the transition to Windows 10, by creating a list of "specific new Skylake devices we will support to run Windows 7 and Windows 8.1" through July 17, 2017.
Going forward, as new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support. This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon, while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon. For example, Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform on Intel’s upcoming “Kaby Lake” silicon, Qualcomm’s upcoming “8996” silicon, and AMD’s upcoming “Bristol Ridge” silicon.
Even though the PC market is in decline, the PC is still alive and kicking, and remains relevant due to evolving categories and innovative new features, as we've seen at this year's CES and Microsoft's "Windows 10 Devices" event last October.
The support policy changes introduced on Friday by Terry Myerson may seem unusual for Microsoft, but they represent the company's effort to bridge the gap between hardware and software, by promising to focus on pairing new technology with the best software it can run, thus making Windows 10 more attractive for you even if you might not feel the urge to upgrade to the latest and greatest operating system on the latest hardware.
This is also another step towards better transparency with regards to what users and enterprises can expect from Microsoft moving forward. The company is trying to offer a compromise that can assist businesses in their upgrade path to Windows 10, as well as keeping them covered in case they're stuck on old silicon for a while longer:
In clarifying this policy, we are prioritizing transparency with enterprises on where to find the highest reliability and best supported Windows experience: Windows 10 on any silicon, Windows 7 on the down-level silicon it was designed for, or a device on the support list.
Source: Windows Blogs