Regular HEXUS readers will be well aware of the looming scheduled end of life of Windows 7. Its extended support period ends on 14th January 2020, which is just a couple of months away. From that time users will cease receiving free security features and updates for the aging OS.
Previously Microsoft has announced Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) would be available to Professional and Enterprise customers with volume licensing arrangements. However, a few hours ago it announced that it has extended the paid service ESU offer to "businesses of all sizes".
The change of heart is because Microsoft wants to provide a way for small and mid-size businesses "to stay secure and current". In a blog post, Jared Spataro, CVP for Microsoft 365, wrote that Microsoft understands that "many of you are well on your way to deploying Windows 10, [but] we understand that everyone is at a different point in the upgrade process".
The ESU will become available to purchase from 1st Dec through the cloud solution provider (CSP) program. Microsoft says that the Windows 7 ESU "will be sold on a per-device basis with the price increasing each year". Participants in the ESU can keep paying the increasing fee until January 2023, to keep the security fixes and updates coming until that date.
The fee to participate in the ESU scheme for Windows 7 Pro Users starts at $50 for the first year, moving to $200 per device for year three. Windows Enterprise users pay half those fees. However if you are an Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Enterprise Subscription Agreement (EAS) customer using Windows 10 Enterprise E5, Government E5, Microsoft 365 E5, and Microsoft 365 E5 Security you will get an extra year of extended support for Windows 7 devices for free.
In August HEXUS reported upon the sharp drop in Windows 7's market share in the preceding month. Windows 10 has continued to advance, but Windows 7 still has 28 per cent of the desktop OS share in the most recent figures (Sept) published by NetMarketShare.com.