Death march begins for Windows XP, Office 2003, IE6

A somber note of sorts hit the recent 2011 Worldwide Partner Conference as Microsoft executives alerted the crowd of Windows XP's impending end, at least in terms of lifecycle support.

"XP end of life is not that far off -- a thousand days to be exact," intoned Tami Reller, corporate vice president and CFO for Windows and Windows Live, during a WPC keynote July 11.

Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner amplified the theme in his keynote two days later, broadening it to include Office 2003 and Internet Explorer 6 in addition to Windows XP: "We love those products, but you know what? They're dead."

If Turner's remark was full of characteristic hyperbole, Reller's timeline wasn't fudged. The end of extended support falls on April 8, 2014, according to a Microsoft Windows lifecycle fact sheet. That's 1,000 days from July 13, according to an online date calculator.

Reller defined what end of life will mean for XP. "Ongoing standard support and software maintenance will not be a part of the Windows XP experience," she said.

On July 12, Microsoft ended support for Microsoft Office XP and Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

Microsoft Office XP and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 users are out of luck after July 12.

Although 2014 seems like a long way off, it's not so far off in terms of corporate desktop OS upgrade planning cycles. For the many organizations that skipped Windows Vista, it means they may need to commit to Windows 7 rather than waiting for Windows 8 if they want to stay current on support.

Meanwhile, Reller encouraged partners to urge their customers to migrate to Windows 7, which she said has sold 400 million copies so far. "[The end of extended support] can introduce material risk to a business. Together we must help our customers migrate more than 300 million desktops to a modern experience. You most certainly will play a critical role," Reller said.

In addition to applying the customer stick of fear, Reller held out the partner carrot of service revenues. "Numerically, we believe that well over 40 billion of services will be purchased by customers over the next several years as part of this move," Reller said.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is the editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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