Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) has announced plans to stop disseminating Windows XP patches to consumers after April 8, 2014. However, according to reports, it does not mean that the software giant would cease making those fixes for the old operating system.
The company is expected to continue making security updates specifically for Windows XP many months or even years after April next year. It should be noted that the old operating system would be retired on that month, although its current users may still use it for quite some time.
The Custom Support for patches
The patches for Windows XP after April would more likely be part of ‘Custom Support.’ It is a post-retirement contract that was designed for a bigger number of customers. The patches would continue until most users finally agree to migrate to a newer OS.
However, Customer Support would not come for free. It may cost about $200 per year for every PC. Through the portal, Microsoft customers would receive patches or fixes for specific vulnerabilities. Those risks are considered as ‘critical.’
Out-of-support service packs or legacy products would continue to work on its own, Custom Support would continue labeling security hotfixes for any vulnerability as ‘critical.’ ‘Important’ security patches as defined by the Microsoft Security Response Center could be bought and could bring about additional fee.
As the company sells Custom Support deals, it would be obliged to produce patches for important and critical vulnerabilities. It could be required to do so for many more years to come. In general, Microsoft has a standard practice to continue giving Custom Support’ for about three years after an operating system is retired.
Possibilities after April 2014
XP security updates and the possible backlash at Custom Support are among the reasons why many experts think and hope that the company would postpone the scheduled retirement of Windows XP this coming year. There are also speculation that if there are at least 33% of PCs that use Windows XP after April 2014, the company may decide to continue issuing patches for the operating system for free.
However, some sources claim that there is no stopping the company from retiring Windows XP. Thus, there would be uncertainties about giving of patches for the old operating system. It is also a possibility that continuing free patches may incur criticisms and revolt especially for premium users who would invest huge amounts of money just to buy the so-called Custom Support.