Gee, Microsoft sure is thinking quite far ahead.

Windows 8 has yet to find its foothold in the market, but the makers of the brand new OS have already (tad surprisingly, I may add) mapped out its long-term strategy. Mainstream support for the operating system is said to end on January 9, 2018.

That would put the product life of Windows 8 at just slightly above 5 years. Wowzers!

Of course, extended support will be provided until January 10, 2023, which suddenly seems like a much sweeter number. I do wonder what the technology landscape will be like in 2023, though.

This was revealed on Microsoft’s Support website, which you can access here. Since it’s interactive, you can search for your OS or software product and find out when both mainstream and extended support are ending for that particular Microsoft product.

Now you may what’s the difference between mainstream and extended support cycles.

The first phase of a product support lifecycle is labeled as mainstream support. This is what most people think of when they envision product support – it includes all security and non-security updates to a particular product, plus the complimentary support that is included with a license.

Extended support is the second phase in which users are provided security updates and can opt for paid support for problems with the product.

Windows XP and Vista are currently in the extended support phase, while Windows 7 and 8 enjoy mainstream support. Microsoft has obviously confirmed that work has started on Windows 9, and where that fits in in this timeline is anybody’s guess.

But the fact that the devices and services firm (which is what Steve Ballmer likes to call Microsoft now) is definitely planning so far ahead is, nevertheless, a good sign.

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