[THIN] Re: Microsoft Extends Product Support To 10 Year

  • From: "Claus, Brian" <BClaus@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <thin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 May 2004 11:40:41 -0400

Microsoft Extends Product Support To 10 Years=20

Extra three years of extended support is an acknowledgement of tighter
IT budgets and longer product life cycles

By John Foley,  InformationWeek=20
May 25, 2004=20

Microsoft on Tuesday disclosed plans to extend the technical support it
provides for all of its development and business products to a minimum
of 10 years, giving customers an additional three years to keep using
its software before technical support runs out.=20

The change means companies can use many Microsoft products longer
without the risks of running unsupported software or the costly
alternative of signing a custom support contract. Among the products
covered by the extended warranty are Windows 2000, Windows XP, and SQL
Server 2000.=20

Under a support life-cycle policy introduced in 2002, Microsoft has been
providing software troubleshooting and repairs for five years on most
products, followed by two years of extended help for an additional fee.
But that so-called "five plus two" policy has proven insufficient for IT
departments under budget pressure to keep their Windows PCs and servers
in service longer. "We determined we needed to make some changes," says
Peter Houston, senior director of servicing strategy with Microsoft. The
change was disclosed at Microsoft's TechEd conference in San Diego.=20

Under the new "five plus five" policy, which goes into effect June 1,
Microsoft will provide mainstream technical support for a minimum of
five years, followed by five years of extended support. If it takes
Microsoft more than five years between major product upgrades, the
support window will be extended accordingly.=20

In addition, Microsoft will now support so-called service packs, which
bundle security updates and other features for a given product, for two
years. Under the older policy, service-pack support had been
inconsistent, making it hard to customers to plan, Houston says.=20

One product not covered by the policy change is Windows NT 4.0. Support
for NT 4.0, introduced in 1996, expires at the end of this year. Many
businesses are racing to swap out the millions of PCs and servers still
running the operating system, but Microsoft decided against extending NT
4.0's support because of the security vulnerabilities posed by the aging
platform. "NT 4 has reached its point of architectural obsolescence,"
says Houston.=20

The five-plus-five support policy change is an acknowledgement that some
companies are skipping entire releases of Microsoft products. For
example, a company that deployed Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 database
last year might not want to upgrade to SQL Server 2005 when it ships
next year. In that scenario, the customer could wait for a subsequent
version of SQL Server.=20

David Chacon, an IT manager with golf club manufacturer Ping, approves
of Microsoft's policy change. Chacon says it can be hard to keep pace
with Microsoft's constant product upgrades. "Having longer life cycles
can be very advantageous," he says.=20

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