Good news for Windows 98 fans, and for folk who don’t believe in upgrading their software just because companies say it’s the cool thing to do. Microsoft has relented on its decision to abandon updates for Windows 98 and Me this week, saying it will continue to provide limited support for the operating systems until 30 June, 2006. During that time, ZDNet says, paid over-the-phone support will be available, and “critical” security issues will be reviewed and “appropriate steps” taken. Here’s another piece on the move from eWeek.
I think this is wise and decent of Microsoft. Although some figures for the numbers of users still clinging to the older operating systems might be skewed, a company like Microsoft can’t claim to be giving priority to security issues with one breath and then leaving many of its customers high and dry by not helping them with security fixes with the other. And while some folk might argue that XP is a far superior product and that customers who do not upgrade to it are, and I quote, ‘doofuses’, I can quite understand if someone feels 98 or (gasp) Me is enough for them. Let’s face it, for most tasks there’s not much more you need than a basic operating system that works. Software is digital, and therefore not a product that declines with age, so it could run forever. Microsoft should be happy people are still using their older programs, and be keeping them happy.