Last week, Microsoft shuffled its product lifecycle support policies adding that the end of support would align with Patch Tuesday so users with older products would not miss out on patches for products that may have expired just days prior.
It's a good move for corporate users bent on getting every last day out of their software. Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle policy went into effect on 15 October 2002 to provide users with a predictable schedule on the life of the software. The policy was revised on June 1, 2004 and now has gone through another revision affecting consumer products.
The latest change was brought about by the realisation that Windows XP Home Edition would expire just as Windows Vista was shipping. Now users will get support for two years from the data Vista is available, which is scheduled to be the second half of 2006.
Don’t worry that this might happen to products for the enterprise. The two year extension beyond the previous products ship date has always been in effect for business software, including XP Pro.
Here's the official language: “Microsoft offers a minimum of 10 years of support for Business and Developer products. Microsoft will provide mainstream support for either 5 years after the date of general availability, or for 2 years after the successor product (N+1) is released, whichever is longer. Microsoft will also provide extended support for 5 years after mainstream support for a product ends, or for 2 years after the second successor product (N+2) is released, whichever is longer. Finally, most products will receive at least 10 years of online self-help support.”