After an epic run, extended support for Windows 7 comes to an end on January 14th, 2020... or does it? According to an updated support document on Microsoft's website, it isn't quite ready to pull the plug on Windows 7 support for its business customers, and in some cases will actually provide that support for free.
In an update on its FAQ detailing the end of Windows 7 support, Microsoft states the following, "Enterprise Agreement and Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EA and EAS) customers with active subscription licenses to Windows 10 Enterprise E5, Microsoft 365 E5, or Microsoft 365 E5 Security will get Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for Year 1 as a benefit."
This freebie is made as part of a promotional offer that started back on June 1st and runs through December 31st. Microsoft has always offered businesses the ability to purchase Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU), which it will amazingly offer through January 2023. This latest promotion at least allows business and government institutions to skip those fees for one year.
Once that free year expires, customers with a compatible Windows Enterprise or Microsoft 365 subscription that choose the Windows 7 ESU add-on will pay dearly for those security updates (which will only be available for a maximum of three years). The Windows 7 ESU will be priced at $25 per device for the first year. During the second year, that price rises to $50, before doubling again to $100 in the third year. For systems running Windows 7 Professional, you’ll have to double the aforementioned prices across years one through three.
Windows 7 was first introduced in July 2009, and was seen as a big step-up from the unloved Windows Vista. Its popularity meant that Windows 7 adoption skyrocketed during its initial years of availability, and continued to balloon thanks to the lackluster launches of both Windows 8 and its follow-up, Windows 8.1. With the release of Windows 10, however, Windows 7 installs have finally been dropping steadily as most businesses see the writing on the wall with respect to diminishing returns from sticking with a decade-old operating system.
To see the terms of Microsoft's Windows 7 Extended Security Update promotional offer, click the following link [PDF].