There has been lots of news recently about Microsoft making Windows 7 End of Life (EOL) on January 14, 2020. To start with Microsoft has been releasing pop up messages to Windows 7 users saying
“After 10 years, support for Windows 7 is nearing the end.
January 14, 2020 is the last day Microsoft will offer security updates and technical support for computers running Windows 7. We known can be difficult, that’s why we’re reaching out early to help you backup your files and prepare for what’s next.”
Microsoft ending support for a version of Windows is very common and has happened many times over the decades but the concerning part is the number of machines still running Windows 7 that will no longer be getting security patches come January 14, 2020.
In the recent March Report from Net Marketshare you can see that Windows 7 is still the majority of Windows computers on the web by 39.60 percent followed by Windows 10 at 38.17% . As of October 2014, there were nearly 2 billion personal computers used worldwide that includes all Windows versions, Mac, Linux, BSD, and Chromebooks. That means that when Windows 7 end of life is reached 780,000,000 machines will not be patched for security issues by Microsoft. When Windows XP went end of life it was 28% of computers on the web and if you remember Microsoft kept patching it for a little while after EOL.
I still think Microsoft is going to hold strong on the Windows 7 end of life date but signs do point to them possibly hanging on to supporting Windows 7 longer. For starters, they are working on a Beta for Microsoft Edge for Windows 7 in the new Microsoft Edge Insider Channel which should be released over the summer. Browser support for unsupported versions of Windows has always been an issue so why would Microsoft develop a product for an out of date operating system.
The argument could be made
“Well, they have customers paying for updates after Windows 7 end of life.”
Corporate customers can pay for support for three years after the Windows 7 end of life date but corporate customers only pay for and get security updates, not product development or feature updates like a browser.
The second reason I think Windows 7 will be supported after its end of life date is they have more machines on Windows 7 then they did on Windows XP. When Windows XP hit the end of life Microsoft continued to release security updates for XP for well over a year because so many computers still had XP. Right now there are more computers with Windows 7 then XP had at its end of life date. I could see Microsoft still pushing out security updates to Windows 7 users for a short time after the end of life date is reached.
I would like to point out while nothing has been confirmed by Microsoft but forcing this many users to be insecure without updates I think would be a bad PR move for Microsoft. This could force users to other platforms like cheaper Google Chromebooks or Apple Macs. Microsoft does not want to lose any of their customer bases so I can see them maybe offering Windows 10 free again or giving people more time to move to Windows 10 by the continuing support of Windows 7 past the end of life date. While nothing has been confirmed I could see it happening in the coming year.