Microsoft Drops Clues About Paid Windows 10 Servicing Option

Microsoft is readying a new "paid supplemental servicing" option for volume licensing customers using the Education or Enterprise editions of Windows 10 version 1607, but details are still scarce.

Paid supplemental servicing is an option that extends Windows 10's support lifecycle by 12 months. It's limited to the Education and Enterprise editions of the OS; it's not an option for Home or Pro edition users of Windows 10.

In addition, paid supplemental servicing is only available to volume licensing buyers of Windows 10. Microsoft considers a volume licensing buyer, known as a "commercial customer," as any organization that buys a few as five Windows 10 licenses.

Microsoft first publicized the existence of its paid supplemental servicing plan earlier this month in an announcement that described free six-month support extensions for some Windows 10 versions for Enterprise and Education edition users. At that time, no details about the new supplemental servicing plan were provided.

An announcement earlier this week was similarly light on details, though Microsoft did share when the option will start: April 10, 2018. That date is the end-of-support date for Windows 10 version 1607 users of the Enterprise and Education editions. Microsoft actually had extended the end-of-support date for that version by six months at no charge, as it described in its Feb. 1 announcement.

Presumably, Microsoft would be expected to offer paid supplemental servicing for other Windows 10 versions beyond version 1607. If so, though, that detail was not stated in this week's announcement. Microsoft's "Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet" page simply states that "some versions of Enterprise and Education editions will have an option for an additional paid extension for eligible volume licensing customers," but it doesn't disclose the versions.

While Microsoft had extended the life of Windows 10 version 1511 to April 10, 2018, adding a six-month extension from its original end date, it's not planning to offer paid supplemental servicing for Windows 10 version 1511. That version will fall out of support in a couple of months, meaning that it won't get future updates (including security patches) after the April 10 date. This week's announcement doesn't exactly state that Windows 10 version 1511 won't have the paid supplemental servicing option, but that appears to be what Microsoft means.

The announcement this week also highlighted the point that Windows 10 generally falls out of support in 2025:

We're committed to helping our commercial customers deliver a secure and productive modern workplace and stay current on Windows 10. Windows 10 will continue to be a Microsoft supported product until 2025 and customers working to stay current will continue to have support channels open to them.

It's apparently a reference to the Oct. 14, 2025 end of "extended support" date for Windows 10 users following the semiannual channel update model and Modern Lifecycle Policy. Organizations that started out on the long-term servicing branch with Windows 10 Enterprise 2016, following the Fixed Lifecycle Policy, will fall out of extended support on Oct. 13, 2026, a year later.

Windows 10 is supposedly Microsoft's last client operating system brand. It was first released on July 29, 2015, so organizations get 10 years of support from that date, plus three months. Apparently, that cycle is set, so if an organization buys Windows 10 today, they'll have only seven years and eight months of support for the product. That's a couple of years shy of the traditional 10 years of support (known as "5 + 5" for five years of mainstream support and five years of extended support) that organizations typically expect.

Microsoft didn't offer further clarifying details about the new paid supplemental servicing option in its announcement this week, nor did it describe pricing. Instead, it urged volume licensing customers using the Enterprise or Education editions of Windows 10 version 1607 to contact their "account team" to get more information.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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