Microsoft will stop all sales of Windows 7 Pro to PC makers on Halloween 2016.
Satya Nadella’s firm has quietly let slip that October 31, 2016, will be the final day for PC makers to buy copies of the operating system for pre-install.
Microsoft updated its product support lifecycle page, here, in October with the change noticed on Friday. The firm stopped supplying Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate to PC makers on Saturday October 31.
Before naming the 2016 date for Windows 7 Pro, Microsoft had promised to give OEMs a one-year period of notice before termination.
Windows 8.1 will also cease to be available to PC makers on October 31 2016 – but that’s less likely to bother people, given the operating system’s tardy sales.
The same could not be said of Windows 7 Pro, which has seen a healthy upswing in business as firms swerved Windows 8 when moving off Windows XP. Windows 7 runs on just over half of all PCs – 55.7 per cent, according to Netmarket.
The question will be what degree of push-back Microsoft receives from PC makers already struggling to move boxes in the face of tablets and sluggish corporate upgrades.
Many business will have already done their PC refresh by having moved to Windows 7, off Windows XP and be unlikely to move again for another few years. Corporations The Register has spoken to have expressed more interest in Windows 10 than its predecessor but those upgrades are a good two years out.
Customers will have the ability to downgrade from Windows 10 but it’ll be PC makers who are hit hardest, with at least 12 months of no corporate-friendly Windows 7 to sell that might allow firms to exercise their downgrade rights. Those who do chose to downgrade will have to ensure they first have a volume purchasing agreements in place with Microsoft.
Windows 10 is now Microsoft’s client operating flagship, with Microsoft doing everything in its power to push upgrades. But uptake of Windows 10 is beginning to choke: the firm claimed 110 million devices have downloaded the operating system since its release in July.
Both StatCounter and Netmarketshare found growth slowing for the operating system by the end of October. To help get over the hump Microsoft will automatically download Windows 10 to machines starting in early 2016, as a “recommended” download.
Already there’s been plenty of complaints, and no explanation from Microsoft, about Windows 7 machines being force fed the new operating system.
Microsoft's goal is for one billion devices on Windows 10 in two or three years’ time. ®