Microsoft stretches support for SharePoint Server 2010, Windows 10 1809

In its latest moves related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft is extending support an extra six months for SharePoint Server 2010 and Windows 10 1809.

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Microsoft on Tuesday extended support by six months for more products, telling customers that SharePoint Server 2010 will now receive updates until April 13, 2021 and that Windows 10 1809 will get security fixes until Nov. 10, 2020.

"In response to the COVID-19 crisis and an increase in customer requests, we have decided to revise support for SharePoint Server 2010 products and technologies,' Mark Kashman, senior product manager on the SharePoint team, wrote in an April 14 post to a company blog.

SharePoint Server 2010 was to have exited support Oct. 13.

Meanwhile, the company also postponed the end-of-support date for Windows 10 1809. "To help ease some of the burdens customers are facing, we are going to delay the scheduled end-of-service date for the Home, Pro, Pro Education, Pro for Workstations, and IoT Core editions of Windows 10, version 1809, to November 10, 2020," the Redmond, Wash. firm stated in the Windows message center. From June through November, Microsoft will provide vulnerability patches only.

Windows 10 1809, which Microsoft released in November 2018, was originally set to exhaust its support May 12.

Other products also received six-month reprieves, including SharePoint Foundation 2010, Project Server 2010, Windows Server 1809 and the current branch of Configuration Manager 1810. The extensions will continue to provide monthly security updates - and emergency fixes if necessary - as well as both paid and self-help support.

Microsoft announced its first pandemic-related support retirement delay four weeks ago when it added six months to Windows 10 1709, giving Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education users until Oct. 13 to migrate to a newer version. At the time, Microsoft did not explain why it selected six months rather than a longer stretch, a year, for instance.

Nor did it offer a rationale today. But Microsoft made clear that it believes the six month delay would be all for SharePoint. "Microsoft has no plans to extend support for SharePoint 2010 beyond April 13, 2021," wrote Kashman. "This is a one-time extension due to the COVID-19 outbreak."

Not surprisingly, Microsoft recommended that customers shift from an on-premises SharePoint Server product to Microsoft 365, the top-end subscription program that includes Office 365 applications and services (including SharePoint Online), Windows 10, and a set of security and management tools. Microsoft has aggressively pitched subscriptions to customers, arguing that the rent-not-buy model ensures users always have the latest in hand. The regular - and never ending - revenue, of course, is a boon to Microsoft's bottom line.

Businesses that want to continue running on-premises SharePoint can upgrade to one of the three newer editions: SharePoint Server 2013, 2016 or 2019. The first exits support April 11, 2023, while the second and third run out of support on July 14, 2026.

Unfortunately, there is no simple upgrade path between the 2010 and 2019 editions. Instead, customers must upgrade from 2010 to 2013, next from 2013 to 2016, then finally from 2016 to 2019. More information on this phased approach is available here.

Microsoft has a full slate of products due to lose support in October

The SharePoint Server 2010 deferment may not be Microsoft's last. A large number of products are scheduled to fall off the support rolls this year and arguably need just as much extra time as SharePoint Server 2010 and Windows 10.

Office 2010 and its several suite SKUs (stock-keeping units); Office 2016 on the Mac; separate applications, like Word 2010 and Excel 2010; and associated on-premises servers, including Exchange Server 2010 - all are due to expire Oct. 13.

Windows 10 also has some impending 2020 dates, too. Windows 10 Enterprise 1803 and Windows 10 Education 1803 are currently scheduled to lose support Nov. 10, while all SKUs of Windows 10 1903, from Home to Enterprise, are to retire Dec. 8.

Awarding everything now sporting a 2020 retirement date with six more months would shift the burden into next year. Office 2010, for example, would not lose support until April 13, 2021. Windows 10 1803 and 1903 would receive updates until May 11, 2021 and June 8, 2021, respectively.

It's unclear whether Microsoft will extend all deadlines. It has a slew of factors to consider, ranging from its estimate for the length of time businesses will have employees working from home to an obvious desire not to unduly postpone revenue-producing upgrades and shifts to subscriptions.

At the same time, customers will likely ask why they can't have more time to migrate from, say, Exchange Server 2010, when others were given six more months to move off SharePoint Server 2010. And wonder, with cause, with the retirement deadlines of Windows 10 1809 and 1903 less than a month apart, why the latter doesn't get the same extension already given to the former.

Microsoft may want to keep support extensions to a minimum because of the disruption they cause to the overall schedule, but that horse has left the barn. In truth, the calendar is already a shambles. For a short time metronomic, Windows 10's cadence has sputtered instead, with support spans of 18 months and 24, 30 months and 36.

It seems reasonable that Microsoft will continue to add support time as the pandemic - and its impact on society and business both - continues.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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