RealTime IT News

Microsoft Revamps Product Lifecycle Support

SAN DIEGO: Microsoft plans to expand its enterprise product support lifecycle policy by a minimum of three years, a move that buys time for the software giant to deal with the unpredictable nature of shipping product upgrades.

During a keynote presentation at the TechEd conference Tuesday, Andrew Lees, Microsoft's vice president of Server Tools Marketing, announced the new policy would provide customers with a minimum of 10 years of mainstream support, up from seven years.

The policy is for all of its business and developer software and goes into effect on June 1st.

The previous plan called for Microsoft to offer five years of mainstream support and two years of extended support but, the unpredictable nature of shipment dates for new products led to a situation where customers complained that product support expired before upgrades were ready.

Under the updated policy, the mainstream support phase remains at five years but Microsoft has tacked on three more years to the extended support phase, according Peter Houston, Microsoft's senior director of service strategy.

He said the new cycle effectively offers a minimum of ten years of product support that includes security updates and paid incident support. It affects existing business product lines that include Windows XP, Microsoft Office as well as future products.

The new policy does not affect consumer, hardware, multimedia or Microsoft Business Solutions products.

"Customers requested support that is predictable, expanded and mirrors their changing needs. With this announcement, Microsoft delivers the predictable support customers need to successfully do more with less."

Information describing the policy changes has been posted online and the company expects to be able to provide specific product lists with appropriate deadlines once the policy takes effect on June 1.