Microsoft has waffled over the past few days about how long it will continue to sell Windows 7, initially stating that it had already stopped shipping the operating system to retailers and OEMs, but shifting the status over the weekend to "to be determined."
The earlier date would have left businesses seeking an upgrade from Windows XP whose end of life hits in April with a tight deadline to purchase Windows 7. As Microsoft states on its Web site, "When a version of Windows reaches its end of sales date, it's a good time to think about upgrading."
BACKGROUND:Microsoft ends Windows 7 retail sales
It's unclear why Microsoft made the change and whether the new end-of-sales dates will be sooner or later. Microsoft hasn't responded to a request for information yet.
The company's Web site lists two key dates about end of sales, one being the end of retail software and the end of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled. "Note that when the retail software product reaches its end of sales date, it can still be purchased through OEMs (the company that made your PC) until it reaches the end of sales date for PCs with Windows preinstalled," the company says on the site. "End of sales refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Examples of OEMs are Dell and Toshiba -- PC manufacturers who often preinstall Windows software."
In any case, Microsoft will end extended support Jan. 14, 2020. That means after that date the company won't issue any more security updates for the platforms, leaving machines running the operating system open to security exploits based on vulnerabilities discovered after that date.
Already Windows 7 is no longer listed on the Microsoft Store Web site.
Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.