Microsoft says “Upgrade or DIE!” to users of older Windows versions.

If you’re still running any version of Windows other than XP and were expecting that Microsoft would patch Internet Explorer to give you the same security updates included in the recent Service Pack 2 update, well, you’re going to be disappointed:

Microsoft affirmed that its recent security improvements to IE would be made available only to XP users.

“We do not have plans to deliver Windows XP SP2 enhancements for Windows 2000 or other older versions of Windows,” the company said in a statement. “The most secure version of Windows today is Windows XP with SP2. We recommend that customers upgrade to XP and SP2 as quickly as possible.”

Everfresh Translation: “If you’re too cheap to upgrade to our latest OS then you can stuff your security concerns in a pipe and smoke ‘em, baby!”

At a minimum this will cost you guys $89 for the upgrade version of XP Home which you’ll need a valid CD-ROM of your current version of Windows to install, otherwise it’ll cost you $199. Of course, that’s assuming your PC is even capable of running Windows XP in it’s current configuration. Many folks on Windows 9x or ME may find they need a bigger HD or more RAM before even considering upgrading. Of course, this is likely to be part of Microsoft’s intent in making this decision.

That, analysts say, is a steep price to pay to secure a browser that swept the market as a free, standalone product.

“It’s a problem that people should have to pay for a whole OS upgrade to get a safe browser,” said Michael Cherry, analyst with Directions on Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. “It does look like a certain amount of this is to encourage upgrade to XP.”

There’s somewhere around 390 million PCs in the world running older versions of Windows. That adds up to an eye-popping $34,710,000,000 if Microsoft could convince everyone to buy just the upgrade version of XP Home. That’s not likely to happen, of course, but even a small percentage of that number would be a big revenue boost.

Then again it’s also possible this move could make for 390 Million new Mozilla/Firefox adopters as well… a simple move that would cost them nothing.

15 thoughts on “Microsoft says “Upgrade or DIE!” to users of older Windows versions.

  1. And what if you are a cheap SOB with just upgrade CDs?  I had Win95, got an upgrade for Win98, then an upgrade for Win98se.  So will I be able to get an upgrade of XP or have to get full verions???  What a biotch!  LOL

  2. If you still have your original Win95 disc then it should work. Not sure if the upgrade versions of the other OS’s would work.

  3. I’m afraid I’m going to have to side with MS on this one. Every software maker has limits to what they support. Even the high and mighty company Apple.

    There has to be a line that they draw that says we will not support this OS anymore. Otherwise, they would be expected to support Windows 2.0, or the original MacOS.

    I would suspect that even Linux distro’s have a limit to how far back they support their distro’s.

    It really is a matter of resources. To be competative, companies need to decide where they are going to allocate their development resources.

    There will be a day when OS X and WinXP will not be supported. Hopefully way far away, but still…

  4. Or one could just go stright to Linux as well?  wink  The only reason I boot into XP now is to play my games and VPN into work to take care of bitness.

    I’ll also have to agree with Dave M and M$ on this one as well.  However, I believe they should have also included Win2k, but I can understand why the company has chosen to take this path.  All companies at one point have to stop supporting older products, it’s just the nature of the beast.  As far as Linux distros are concerned, Redhat stopped supporting version 9 (aside from 7.3, one of their best releases) a long time ago.  Just this week, they stopped Fedora Core 1 now that Core 3 is in second test version…  Of course you can still get upgrades for the older OS’es, it’s just not fully supported by parent company.

  5. Dave M. I don’t want to sound like I was saying that Apple doesn’t do the same thing. They’ve been pushing to get rid of OS 9 for a while now. I just had to listen to so many people complain as if moving on to bigger and better Operating Systems was a bad thing. I’m glad MS is doing it. It’s smart. I’m just glad that I don’t have to hear people tell me that the practice is an Apple thing. Oh, and high, yes, but mighty?

  6. It’s just another reason why I won’t upgrade to XP (Office or Windows, for that matter) unless I have absolutely no other choice.

    Regarding IE security fixes, the answer is obvious – use Firefox, preferably on Linux.

  7. I’m afraid I’m going to have to side with MS on this one. Every software maker has limits to what they support.

    That’s undisputed – you have to draw the line somewhere. Two problems, however.

    First, if security is supposed to be an overriding concern, then you darn well retrofit security patches to older software versions still in widespread use.

    Second, since this is Microsoft we’re talking about, it’s not to consider this as a transparent move to force expensive updates on reluctant users.

  8. Brooks: In the eyes of Mac Enthusists… Actually, I didn’t mention Apple because of your comment. Just pointing out that they are also doing it. Actually, they do it to their hardware too. Does anyone have an accurate count as to how many Mac systems there have been since the original 128K Mac’s?

    elwedriddsche: What do you consider “wide spread” use? If MS has dropped support for Win95, then it’s not going to see updates no matter how many people still use it.

    As Brooks said, OS9 has been out of commision for just over 2 years now. There are still quite a few OS9 installations out there (In schools). You saying that Apple should have a group of developers supporting this OS that has been dumped so that it’s nice and safe?

    I’ve heard this “Everyone should be using Linux” thing now for quite some time. It amuses me that folks seem to think that Linux is rock solid and doesn’t have any possible security threats deep inside it’s code. Yet at least once a month, I hear about some security issue with Linux. Mind you, that’s less than what we keep hearing about MS, but then Linux doesn’t have the desktop user base that MS has either. Same with Apple.

    That said, I do agree that *EVERYONE* should be using Mozilla/Firefox and stay as far away from IE as possible. If I could use Windows Update with Firefox I would, but alas, I have to fire up IE for that process still. It’s the only time I ever fire up IE.

  9. Since the IE browser is integrated deeply into the OS, it has other functions than just browsing the web.  Several security patches I have seen warn “this patch is necessary even if IE is not your primary browser” or words to that effect.

    MS is counting on the intertia of millions of users who can’t make themselves click on any icon they’re not familiar with.  I often visit desks of people who use IE after I loaded Mz/Fx on their system (at their request,) and IE has been set back to the primary browser.  I ask them why and they say; “Oh, well, you know, it’s hard to change.”

  10. I can respect the idea that MS needs to draw the line at some point, but at the same time they need to be responsive to their customers or they risk losing them. With something like Internet Explorer, which isn’t necessarily an embedded part of the earlier OSes, it doesn’t make a lot of sense not to patch it for the major vulnerabilities. Certainly they’re not going to release something like the Security Center update for Windows 95 or 98, but there’s quite a few exploits in IE that should be addressed.

  11. I understand that you have to stop supporting the old software at somepoint sure, but they are still supporting Windows ME. I use Windows ME, why don’t I get a security patch? I was annoyed when they stopped supporting Windows 95, only because Windows 95 was the most stable Windows version ever. I hated having to get rid of that. With just a couple of adjustments to some elements my Windows 95 computer was never off, never being rebooted, it just ran constantly. If Microsoft could do that with all their operating systems, I wouldn’t be thinking of switching to Linux.

  12. I’m sorry… Win95 the most stable version of Windows? With just a couple of adjustments to some elements my Windows 95 computer was never off, never being rebooted, it just ran constantly?

    What do you use your computer for? Solitare? You, and probably one other, are probably the only people on the planet with such claims. If I breathed in front of my computer during the Win95 days, I would be rebooting the thing. Where do you think that the infamous “Blue Screen Of Death” came from?

    Win2K was the first real attempt at making a stable OS, and WinXP has built upon that stability. I play games just about every night on my computer here. My peak number of days going without a reboot is 18 so far. 18 could have been more if it were not for The Sims 2 having problems when switching to the desktop during game play. When I switched back to The Sims 2, the game never recovered. Not sure why that is, but I have had to turn off a few power saving features to make sure I don’t lose the game due to the monitor being turned off after 20 minutes.

  13. You know, its funny really. The most dangerous tool in a computer geeks hands is a bootdisk. Windows may be more secure than ever but you can still hack a Windows box and get admin privileges with a bootdisk and F8. smile

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