Re: Microsoft shouldn't have to support everything it's ever produced
I'm with Charlie on this one. It's unrealistic to expect Microsoft to support products indefinitely. One can argue that Microsoft might have offered XP users a paid update plan. But to just continue dispensing updates until all XP computers finally melt? That's not sustainable.
With Windows XP, Microsoft was beyond the point of making much money. XP doesn't effectively allow Microsoft to showcase new products, takes up resources that might go toward new innovations, and threatens Microsoft's relationship with developers, among other factors. Granted, one can argue that Microsoft cultivated this mess due to its lack of foresight, and that users shouldn't have to suffer because of its strategic misses. This might be true, but only to a point.
The fact remains that all software companies, at some point, will find it untenable to indefinitely support older products. As long as end-of-life deadlines are clearly published ahead of time and allow for a reasonable produce life (both criteria that Microsoft has fulfilled), I don't see a problem. We simply cannot argue that Microsoft has an obligation to support its products as long as people keep using them. That said, we can argue that Microsoft should have found a way to monetize ongoing Windows XP support, rather than simply dropping the OS altogether--e.g. something like Microsoft offers its biggest enterprise customers, but at a much lower cost, and for everyone. That would give exiting customers a choice, while putting pressure on Microsoft to show how its newer products are worth the upgrade. But if we want to talk about Microsoft offering XP updates via subscription or something, that's a question of the company's execution in handling a huge chunk of users, not its inherent obligations as a maker of software. Quite often, I see people arguing that Microsoft has an intrinsic duty to support XP until users finally decide they've had enough-- which is a different, and less tenable, contention.