Microsoft tries (again) to get people off Windows 7

Company says it's becoming hard to secure the old OS.

windows 7 logo ending

Not for the first time, Microsoft is casting aspersions on Windows 7, the highly successful version of its OS that was a nice rebound after the Vista disaster, saying the aging OS is becoming increasingly hard to secure.

It's not an unreasonable or incorrect statement.

Windows 7 shipped in 2009. Eight-year-old OS versions are going to be harder to maintain than new ones, no question. And a blog post is a lot less obnoxious than some of Microsoft's previous tactics, like changing the close window icon to one that indicated approval of the install.

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The latest effort is from a blog post published by the German subsidiary of the company, pointing to the difficulties of maintaining the old operating system as compared to Windows 10.

"Today, Windows 7 can no longer keep up with increased security requirements. Rather, it provides for higher operating costs -- for example, maintenance, lost working time due to increased malware attacks, or even increased support requests," wrote Irene Nadler.

Markus Nitschke, head of Windows at Microsoft Germany, reiterated Nadler's point in the blog post, adding, "Windows 7 is slowly advancing in years. Already, it neither fits the requirements of the users of modern technologies, or meet the high security requirements of IT departments. As earlier with Windows XP, we recommend that companies should take early steps to avoid future risks or costs.”

Of course, they stepped back over the line of hyperbole with the next statement. "Windows 7 is based on outdated security architecture. Companies and users who won’t upgrade from Windows 7 within the next three years are facing enormous dangers."

Nadler then goes on to praise Windows 10 and the security improvements that are part of the operating system, such as Windows Hello offering biometric login window via fingerprint, face or iris recognition, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which uses behavior patterns to detect malware, Windows Information Protection and Windows Store for Business, which provides centralized purchasing, managing and distributing Windows Store Apps in the enterprise.

I don't fault Microsoft for wanting to get people moving, because they had such a hard time uprooting XP users. And a lot are sticking with it. The new PC Trends Report from Avast Software found that 6.5 million of its users still run Windows XP, and that’s just from Avast’s user base.

So long as they don't engage in their previous trickery, a promotional effort is fine with me. Some of the doom and gloom predictions will cause some eyes to roll, but they still have a point.

I suspect Microsoft forgets how hard it is to move, though. Back when it was pushing the XP migration, I spoke to numerous small businesses who said their reason for staying with XP had nothing to do with getting new hardware but the vertical software used to run their businesses. An eye doctor and chiropractor both told me the software they used would not run on Windows 7 and they would need to buy new versions costing over $10,000. That's a major investment with no ROI because all it does is keep doing what the old version did.

There is a little good news on the Windows licensing front. Taiwan-based DigiTimes reports Microsoft has agreed to lower Windows 10 licensing rates for under 14.1-in. low-cost notebooks that will launch this year. The change is set to come into effect on March 1. The story says that Microsoft's motivation is likely the increased popularity of Chromebooks and the fact that Google does not charge a licensing fee for Chrome OS.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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