Spotted by the ever-alert Mark Wyciślik-Wilson for BetaNews, Microsoft has used blog post promoting its Microsoft 365 subscription service to quietly announce it will start taking payments for extended security support for Windows 7 users at the end of the month.
Why pay? Because Windows 7 is dying. Free security support will stop on January 14 2020 and the only way to continue using the operating system safely is to pay Microsoft up to $200 per year per PC – a fee Microsoft states “will increase each year.”
Frustrated? If you’re a home user then things get tougher still because you won’t even have the option to pay. A shame when some Windows 7 support packages will be as cheap as $25 per year.
As its stands (but I expect long-term), Microsoft will only offer paid extended security support to enterprises. And with Windows 7 still accounting for 34% of all Windows PCs used globally (source), this puts millions of home and small business users at a crossroads: pay to switch to Windows 10 (with all its current ills) or prepare to learn an alternative such as Linux/Mac OS.
And the countdown has begun.
In a separate blog post, Windows’ corporate vice president Matt Barlow states Windows 7 users will soon start receiving pop-ups reminding them platform support is ending. These reminders will appear periodically throughout 2019.
So yes, Windows 7 users feeling smug about Windows 10’s current problems will not get the last laugh. For most, the end is fast approaching. For the few of sufficient scale to pay, the future looks very expensive indeed…