Feeds

Put brakes on Windows upgrade escalator, Gartner urges MS

Whistler to kill off NT, Blackcomb Win2k?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A recent Gartner report points up the tensions between the company's objectives and those of its customers, and urges enterprises to pressure Microsoft to put the brakes on its OS obsolescence programme. Microsoft's official policy is only to support two generations of OS at a time, but if the company decides Whistler constitutes a new OS, this would mean the end of NT 4.0 and Win95 in the second half of this year.

As Whistler is intended to be the successor to both Win2k and Win9x, and Microsoft has now put out a new version of Win9x three years in succession, it's surely a racing certainty that Microsoft will decide it's a new operating system, rather than a cleaned-up version of Win2k. Which of course it will be, but those three 'new' consumer OSes in a row were cleaned-up version of Windows 95, right?

Gartner points up the arbitrary nature of this; Microsoft doesn't provide guidelines about what constitutes a new OS, nor does it make its intentions sufficiently clear to its customers in advance. The OS support policy is to support the current operating system plus its predecessor, which currently means Win95 should move out of support (because Win98 SE isn't deemed a new OS, Win98 as a whole is OK until Whistler), and that Windows 2000 and NT 4.0 are both supported.

On the consumer side, the application of the policy would mean support will be reduced to WinME once Whistler ships (if it is a new OS, that is). That however has a knock-on effect for business, because Win98 is still the official Microsoft recommendation for Win9x in business, and WinME is aimed squarely at consumers, not business. So killing off Win98 would drive businesses to Win2k (or possibly even straight to Whistler), rather than giving them WinME as a stopover.

Another problem is the speed of the escalator. A converged codebase could (no doubt in the view of the Redmond bean counters, should) result in the consumer annual refresh cycle being applied in business as well. So the next next version of Windows, Blackcomb, shipping in 2002 (or more likely, another rev of Whistler) would kill off Win2k by 2003.

To get some perspective on this, note that Gartner's report and recommendations are aimed at businesses running Win95 and NT 4.0, and that the outfit reckons 95 is probably viable in business through to 2003, while NT 4.0 can make it as far as 2004. Gartner says: "If Microsoft waits until Whistler is announced and decides that Whistler is a new generation of Windows, enterprises likely will not have enough time to react if they decide they need to migrate to a fully supported platform. Enterprises should pressure Microsoft to give two to three years notice before changing any NT v.4 QFE [Quick Fix Engineering] support policies."

As history tells us that Microsoft seldom knows what its OS strategy will be two years (we're being generous) down the line, we doubt very much that this is achievable. ®

Related link:
Full Gartner report

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
HTML5 vs native: Harry Coder and the mudblood mobile app princes
Developers just want their ideas to generate money
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.