Today, Microsoft is announcing the addition of an Extended Support phase for the Windows® XP Home Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition operating systems, providing consumers with an additional phase of support.
With the addition of Extended Support, the support life cycle for Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition will include a total of five years of Mainstream Support (until April 2009) and five years of Extended Support, matching the support policy provided for Windows XP Professional.
The Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy standardizes Microsoft® product support policies for business and developer products as well as for consumer, hardware, multimedia and Microsoft Dynamics™ products.
If Vista ships in late 2006, come Christmas 2008 all the small business people, average Joes/Joans, and grannies in Peoria that have a Windows XP Home or Media Center system (some only two years old) are effectively going to be told to ante up for a Vista upgrade and even worse, install it, if they don’t want Internet nasties to infect their machines. Meanwhile, users of Windows XP Professional, which is mostly the same as Windows XP Home, will continue to get free security hotfixes for an additional five years under extended support while the XP Home users are outside the candy store with their noses pressed against the glass. Sounds like a PR nightmare to me, not to mention what it may do for sales of “home” systems for the rest of the year.
The right answer is to give the “home” versions of XP the same extended support as the “business” versions. My guess is that Microsoft will be forced to do the equivalent of this anyway, so why not do it now and look good?
Ah, that would have been too simple.