Microsoft Outlines Lifecycle Support Policy

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-10-15 Print this article Print

Microsoft to offer mainstream support for business and development software for five years from product's release.

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday released a new worldwide lifecycle support policy for almost all of its products currently available through retail purchase or volume licensing and for most of its future products. The policy is effective immediately. The new Support Lifecycle policy, which Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer alluded to in a broad customer e-mail sent out earlier this month, essentially provides mainstream support for business and development software for a minimum of five years from the date of a products general release. Users also have the option of buying an additional two years support, as long as they are on the latest or immediately preceding service pack, Microsoft said.
Mainstream support for most consumer, multimedia and hardware products will be for a minimum of five years from the time of the product release, while consumer products, which are upgraded annually, such as Money, Encarta, Streets & Trips and Picture It! will receive three years of mainstream support but will not be eligible for extended support.
Mainstream support includes all the support options and programs that customers currently receive, such as no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims and hotfix support, Microsoft said. Extended support may include support charged on an hourly basis and paid hotfix support. A "hotfix" is a change to a products software code to address specific critical problems. Users wanting extended hotfix support must buy an extended hotfix support contract within 90 days of the end of the mainstream support phase. Most products will also receive at least eight years of online self-help support. Microsoft has set up a Web site where users can find the timeline for different products. So, as an example, Microsoft will provide mainstream support for Windows 2000 Professional until March 2005, at which time that product will move to extended support for two years, followed by another year of pure online support. Support for the product will cease on March 31, 2008.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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