Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, looks to stop issuing security patches for the Windows 98 operating system starting next July, despite Korea’s requests to postpone the plan.
Microsoft Korea, the global giant’s affiliate here, Tuesday said the U.S.-based firm decided to go ahead with the original plan on the outdated operating system.
The decision outright raises the ire of Korean Windows 98 users and experts like the Korea Information Security Agency official Seung Jae-mo, who predicts an onslaught of hacking and virus attacks next year.
“Windows 98 is still widely used in Korea in government offices, medium-sized firms, households and schools. Some of them will be replaced by more advanced systems but some will be still based on Windows 98 next year,” Seung said.
Seung estimated about 10 percent of Korean PC users depend on Windows 98 and merely half of them would substitute the decade-old system with higher versions like Windows 2000 and XP.
In response, Microsoft Korea’s chief security advisor Cho Won-young said it is only Korea that is asking for the suspension of the patch-discontinuation plan in the world.
“We also estimate roughly 10 percent of PC operating systems would be Windows 98 here. But most of them do not download our security patches files for Windows 98,” Cho noted.
The scheduled end of free security fixes for Windows 98 is June 30, 2006 and soon we’ll get to see how many Windows 98 users there are and whether they care. Microsoft had previously tried to end support in 2004, but backed off. I really doubt that Korea is the only place where there will be complaints once the information becomes widely known. For reference, the AssetMatrix study from June pegged the percentage of business users of Windows 95 and 98 at 5%.