Microsoft Takes Another Step Away From SOHO, Home Users - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
7/17/2006
10:38 AM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
Commentary
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Microsoft Takes Another Step Away From SOHO, Home Users

Microsoft cut off support for Windows 98 and Windows Millenium Edition (ME) last week. It was not a very responsible decision. There are still plenty of PCs running 98 and ME out there, and denying them the protection of security updates will make them vectors of infection for PCs running supported Windows versions in the long run. Microsoft might like to pooh-pooh the issue, but its own actions tell you something about the size of the problem: It felt it had to announce a solution for its corp

Microsoft cut off support for Windows 98 and Windows Millenium Edition (ME) last week. It was not a very responsible decision. There are still plenty of PCs running 98 and ME out there, and denying them the protection of security updates will make them vectors of infection for PCs running supported Windows versions in the long run.

Microsoft might like to pooh-pooh the issue, but its own actions tell you something about the size of the problem: It felt it had to announce a solution for its corporate customers -- small-business and home users need not apply.Microsoft's answer is Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs, something that's been kicking around for half a decade, sometimes under the code name "Eiger." WFLP comes with a disclaimer on the Microsoft Web site that says it is not a general-purpose operating system. It is designed to work with the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection client or third-party clients such as the Citrix ICA client.

WFLP is essentially a thin-client OS based on Microsoft Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 (SP2) intended for "customers who have older computers running earlier operating systems and who are not in a position to purchase new hardware."

The message is that there are enough 98/ME legacy machines still running in Corporate America that Microsoft sees a revenue opportunity. The key is that WFLP is available only to Microsoft Software Assurance customers. Microsoft wants more Software Assurance customers because they're cash cows that can be milked for multiple years.

So if you're a corporate customer willing to lay it on the line for Software Assurance you can get WFLP, "enabling you to upgrade to the security and stability of the Microsoft Windows XP platform."

But if you're a small-business or home user of 98/ME who wants security and stability what are your options now that support has been zapped? Approximately zip.

Which leaves me with a question. If Microsoft can package a version of XP SP2 security for one market, why can't it do it for another? The reasonsWFLP is not a general-purpose operating system have nothing to do with computer technology and everything to do with revenue control. Microsoft doesn't want 98/ME customers. It wants XP customers with Vista-ready hardware.

But there are millions of 98/ME users out there quite happily checking their e-mail and balancing their checkbooks on x86 machines. Why is it that Microsoft, supposedly one of the most creative companies on the planet, can't deliver the security and stability of XP -- and it really has some good features -- to them? These same PC users are paying Symantec $45 a year for the latest version of Norton Internet Security. Don't you think Microsoft would be smart enough to make that model work and turn a profit on protecting not just the 98/ME users, but all of us who live in the Windows ecosystem? Apparently not.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll