We've seen reports during the weekend of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system being discontinued from retail and then having its shelf life quietly extended. On Saturday several sources including ComputerWorld and WinBeta were discussing a notice on Microsoft's site which listed the "retail end of sales" of Windows 7 as 30th Oct 2013, just over a month ago. The shipping of Windows 7 pre-installed on PCs was also to cease a year later on 30th Oct 2014. However, as of Sunday, both of these dates have been changed by Microsoft to "To be determined".
As mentioned by ComputerWorld it is (was) current Microsoft policy to end retail sales of an OS one year after the launch of its successor, with the OEM version for systems builders being withdrawn a year after that. The dates were marked as such up until Saturday. The dates have never been that meaningful though, as retailers often have plenty of stock of older versions of Windows to keep supplying long after such 'end of sales' dates. For instance you can still buy Windows XP and Vista from Amazon if you feel like it.
It looks like Microsoft has woken up to the reports on Saturday, of Windows 7's retail demise, then on Sunday the 'End of sales' dates were changed to "To be determined". It might even end up being available for longer than Windows 8 which currently has an end of sales for retail dated at 31 Oct 2014. However Windows 8.1 shares Windows 7's status of a pair of indeterminate retail/OEM withdrawal dates.
Windows 7 on the up
Last week we reported, as a sidenote on a piece about Microsoft's next version of Windows, codenamed 'Threshold', that Windows 7 gained more new users than Windows 8.X during the last month. Perhaps it is this popularity, despite no promotion, that has lead Microsoft to extend the Windows 7 shelf life. It might be wise for Microsoft to wait until after the 8th of April next year, when Windows XP hits its end of extended support date, before the end of sales dates for Windows 7 are reassessed.