Small and midsize businesses will not be automatically cut off from Windows 7 security updates as of January, so long as they're willing to pay for extended updates, Microsoft announced Tuesday.
The end of support date for Windows 7 is set for 14 January, 2020, but Microsoft understands that "everyone is at a different point in the upgrade process," wrote Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, in a blog post.
Issues such as app compatibility have led many businesses to prolong the use of Windows 7 despite the impending end-of-support date for the operating system.
Now, Microsoft is announcing that it will allow "businesses of all sizes" to purchase Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) through January of 2023.
The extended Windows 7 security updates option had previously only been made available to Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise customers in Volume Licensing.
Spataro said that Windows 7 ESU will be sold to small and midsize businesses on a per-device basis, "with the price increasing each year."
SMBs will be able to purchase Windows 7 Extended Security Updates starting on 1 December, through partners in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
"Offering ESU through the CSP program makes sense," said Ric Opal, principal at Oak Brook, Ill.-based SWC Technology Partners, a BDO USA company, in an email to CRN USA. "It drives the SMB customer to the scale program Microsoft has to help this segment."
Opal said he suspects that many SMBs have specific applications that are core to their businesses. And "as the ISVs of those applications modernize their platforms, it is important for Microsoft to offer a bridge to those customers as they complete their transition to Windows 10," he said.
CSP partners, meanwhile, "are also going to be aware of additional offerings for the SMB customer that will help with security and compliance needs going forward. If ISVs fail to modernize their applications, the CSP program will be the best vehicle for SMB customers to find alternative solutions," Opal said. "I consider the move to be a win for the SMB customer and a win for the CSP channel as well."