Windows 8 or nowt: Consumer Win 7 fans are out of luck
Professional version keeps going – for now
It’s Windows 8.x or nothing for PC shoppers, says Microsoft, which has announced that it's no longer offering Windows 7.
Friday 31 October was officially the last day when Microsoft made Windows 7 available for sale through retail outlets, meaning consumers can no longer buy discs of download versions of Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate or Professional.
That date was also the last when PC makers could sell Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate pre-installed on machines. PC makers must draw on any existing stocks of the licenses they might hold.
So, the number of brand-new Windows 7 PCs for consumers coming onto the market is finite and will start dwindling.
The same is not true for business users, as Windows 7 Professional is still available to PC makers.
According to Microsoft’s Windows Lifecycle page, here, there’s no cut-off for date for PC makers on Windows 7 Professional — yet.
Microsoft has promised to give one year’s notice before choking off the OS.
Deterred by Windows 8
It’s Windows 7 that organisations moving from Windows XP have been moving to en masse, rather than the newer Windows 8.x.
Organisations have been deterred by Windows 8’s Metro interface, which broke completely with the desktop past, and lack of application compatibility.
It’s these factors which have helped ensure Windows 7 is now the single-biggest edition of Microsoft’s operating system by market share.
With no option but Windows 8.x for consumers, it’ll now be interesting to see whether the operating system sees a forced uptick in market growth or whether people and PC makers hold out for Windows 10.
There’s no date yet, but a consumer preview of Microsoft’s next operating system is expected in January next year. Final release is likely to be either spring 2015, or roughly a year from now. ®