Enterprise users say they are unfazed that support for Microsoft’s Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition (SE) and Windows Millennium Edition (ME) ends in July.
Microsoft will officially stop public and technical support—including security updates—for the legacy operating systems on July 11, according to information on its website.
However, online self-help support will be available for the operating systems on Microsoft’s support website until at least July 11, 2007.
Microsoft originally planned to end support for Windows 98 and ME in January 2004, but extended that to June 30, 2006, before announcing in January that final support would come on July 11 to allow for some last security patches.
Support may be ending for these once-popular operating systems this year, but an investigation by Computerworld indicates many enterprises have already upgraded to Windows 2000 and XP.
IP Australia’s service centre manager, Maria O’Ryan, said Microsoft’s decision to end support in July “doesn’t concern me,” because there is only one computer running Windows 98 remaining in the organization.
“It’s being used as a test box to compare things until we upgrade as the client doesn’t run on XP,” O’Ryan said. “We probably won’t run the Windows 98 box past the deadline as the upgrade is due [for completion] in two weeks.”
At its peak, IP Australia had about 1,000 Windows 98 desktops that were quickly upgraded to Windows XP over the space of “a few weekends.”
“We never really contacted Microsoft, or used the support anyway,” O’Ryan said, adding that she doesn’t think many Windows 98 installations are left within the wider enterprise.
O’Ryan said IP Australia is “having a look” at Windows Vista, but could not reveal any upgrade plans.
Echoing O’Ryan’s stance, an IT project manager at a utility company, who requested anonymity, said while there are only two Windows 98 machines left running logging software, the decision to end support is “not a big deal for us.”
Windows 98 and ME are less likely to be found in businesses than they are on home machines. According to a December 2005 Jupiter Research survey of nearly 2,300 PC customers, 16 percent were running Windows 98 or 98 SE in their homes, and 6 percent were running Windows ME.
Microsoft recently pushed back the consumer release of the next major update to Windows Vista until January 2007.
Jupiter media analyst Joe Wilcox said that means customers still running Windows 98 or ME who must upgrade by July will most likely move to Windows XP, and forgo upgrading to Vista upon its release in January.
This poses a concern for Microsoft, which “still is not getting people to upgrade as quickly as they would like,” he said.
-Rodney Gedda, Computerworld Today (Australia) (with Elizabeth Montalbano of the IDG News Service)
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For related news coverage, read Microsoft to Cut Support for Windows 98 & ME in July.
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