Windows 7 for OEMs still may have some life left.
Last week we reported that Microsoft quietly updated its operating system lifecycle chart with the end of sale dates for Windows 7. The company discontinued the sale of Windows 7 as a standalone retail product on October 30, 2013, followed by the end of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled on October 30, 2014. That has now changed.
The chart now shows the end of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled as "to be determined." A Microsoft rep told Computerworld that the company has yet to determine when Windows 7 will no longer be sold to OEMs. The date posted last week was done so in error.
"We are confirming that the retail software end of sales date for Windows 7 did happen on October 30, 2013," the Microsoft rep said. So much for buying a copy at Best Buy or Office Depot.
Typically, Microsoft will stop selling an older operating system in retail around one year after its successor hits the market. The company also typically waits two years after the launch of the new version to halt the delivery of the older OS to OEMs. The previous October 30, 2014 OEM end of sales date for Windows 7 fits the pattern.
Computerworld speculates that Microsoft may be telling OEMs that very date, but did not want to publicize the information at this time. "We'll have more details to share about the Windows 7 lifecycle once they become available," a Microsoft rep said on Tuesday.
As pointed out last week, Microsoft's end-of-retail-sales date is a meaningless deadline, as many online retailers will continue to sell the software long after Microsoft pulls the plug. Although Microsoft itself has pulled Windows 7 from its virtual shelves, Amazon remains stocked full of various versions of Windows 7, as does tech specialist Newegg. Even some of Newegg's partners still carry Windows Vista and Windows XP.