In response to my article about the upcoming end of support for Windows 7 (click here to read), I got this comment from a reader.

“Heaven forbid that the consumer would cause the famous Microsoft Company any discomfort by asking them to continue support for a system that works better than the current ones in service. Look at the amount of money they have made over the years…so SAD.
Thank you for presenting other viable options for Operating systems.

I am not sure as an older consumer that am up to Linux at the moment. After working with M/S over the years, by the time I get a good grasp on one (XP or 7), it is time for a change. I will certainly be glad when all of this is over. Again it comes down to Corp greed in my estimation. If they built it right in the first place, the consumer wouldn’t be complaining so much.”

At the risk of sounding like an apologist for Microsoft, which I’ve often been accused of being, there are valid reasons that an operating system can’t last forever. Sort of why a perfectly good horse and buggy isn’t a good thing to drive on a four-lane highway.

windows-10-tablet-mode-with-start

The landscape around an operating system like XP or 7 has changed vastly since that system was introduced. What was pretty secure and fast for the time (like Windows XP) wasn’t a fast or secure operating system 13 years later because the conditions around it changed. I can make a lot of changes to a buggy to make it better and faster, but it’s not going to be a match for semi trucks or capable of keeping up with the flow of traffic on a super-highway.

Remember, no one supports an OS for more than a decade. Not Linux, not Apple, not Android.  Apple offers free updates to devices as long as they support that OS on that device. (they make all the devices, so they’ve made their money. They’re in the business of selling devices, not an OS.) They don’t actually announce that support is ending. They just stop offering the update to that device.

el-capitan

People normally figure it out when their device isn’t on the list of devices compatible with the new operating system.  It’s the same with Android, the manufacturer or carrier just stops sending updates.  With Linux, they offer a new version of the OS. But, of course, with Linux, the OS is free no matter where you got your device.

Microsoft feels they’re being proactive by announcing the end of support. That gives users a chance to prepare. Because a user might overlook that their device isn’t on a list of phones or PCs that is supported by a new operating system, but hackers won’t and they’ll start looking for vulnerabilities ASAP.

And, also to be fair, Microsoft did offer a free upgrade to Windows to Windows 7 users. While some may have had devices that wouldn’t support the upgrade, a majority of them could choose to upgrade.

The big change with Windows 10 is that Microsoft is now following the Apple strategy of offering gradual free and frequent upgrades to Windows 10. So far, they’ve had a new one every fall since it was released.  Many people think that they will continue to follow the Apple model and offer free upgrades to those using Windows 10 instead of coming out with a Windows 11 or 12.  Now at some point, you may hit the point where some older devices won’t work with the new services and capabilities that are required of devices.

Flying cars are here and they will turn that metaphorical highway I talked about earlier into a place that needs to accommodate even faster vehicles and that also requires those traveling on it to have even more protection against hackers.