A few weeks ago, I said something nice about Microsoft. I should have known better. At the time, I suggested that consumers not get on the company’s case for pulling the plug on support for the 12-year-old Windows XP. But pulling the plug on support for the 6-month-old Windows 8.1 is a pig of a different color.
Although many Microsoft customers only recently moved to Windows 8, let alone Windows 8.1, Microsoft says if they don’t move to Windows 8.1 Update, they won’t be able to get any future security updates for Windows 8.1. Seriously, Microsoft? You’re going to punish customers for not installing a buggy patch for a flawed OS by making them vulnerable to hackers who attack said vulnerable OS? As my Irish friends would say, I’m simply gobsmacked.
In a blog post, Microsoft’s Steve Thomas says the company wants customers “to have the best support and servicing experience…What this means is those users who have elected to install updates manually will have 30 days to install Windows 8.1 Update on Windows 8.1 devices; after this 30-day window — and beginning with the May Patch Tuesday, Windows 8.1 user’s devices without the update installed will no longer receive security updates.”
Got that? Do it Microsoft’s way or ride the hacker highway.
It gets worse. The Update itself is quite troublesome; there are more than 300 complaints about it in a thread on the Microsoft Answers forum. What’s more, there are reports of software incompatibilities that pop up when the Update is installed and most new PCs come with Windows 8.1 already installed, which means your new PC is essentially obsolete before you even get it home.
Making this all the weirder is the fact that if you’re running Windows 8, which was so troubled and unpopular that Microsoft rushed out Windows 8.1 to fix it, you don’t have to install the Update. Huh?
You have to wonder just what Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, is thinking
San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in CIO.com and the publications of Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.