Big shift for enterprise customers!
I work in "enterprise" end user computing. For those unaware. the typical desktop OS and hardware lifecycle is like this:
- OS images and software packages are certified and used for as long as possible. Sometimes this can be for a very long time if applications require an OS or hardware feature that gets dropped or changed.
- Enterprise desktop and laptop hardware from the Big 3 (HP, Lenovo, Dell) is on an 18-month sales cycle.
- Enterprise desktops are on a very conservative update track compared to consumer machines. Often, this is because they're sold into places that still need legacy stuff like serial ports, full BIOS emulation, and the ability to run very old OSes (even if the vendor doesn't explicitly support it.)
- Because of this, the progression usually is:
- Intel/AMD comes out with whizzy new architecture
- Enterprise desktops are released pretty far into the architecture cycle, and sometimes skip the "tick-tock" architecture change and opt for the die-shrunk version of the chip.
- New models are released with some overlap of the old ones to ensure companies have time to make sure all their applications work on the new hardware.
This announcement from Microsoft is a big shift. They're basically saying that anything you buy after a certain date will not be able to run supported Windows 7. I don't know what they're planning to tie this to, but it basically sets an expiration date for Win7 even for the most conservative Windows shops.