Microsoft published a roadmap yesterday for Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.x that highlights the end of support dates for app submissions to Windows Store and the distribution of app updates to devices running Windows Phone 8.x or Windows 8.x.
The next five years will be quite interesting from a Windows user perspective. Support for Windows 7 ends in 2020 and support for Windows 8.1 ends in 2023. That leaves Windows 10 as the only version of Windows that users can switch to. Will they do so, or select a different operating system instead?
Microsoft has done its fair share of work to convince users to upgrade to Windows 10. Even if you ignore the rather problematic Get Windows 10 campaign which was borderline malware at times in my opinion, you will notice attempts here and there that had the main purpose of getting users of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 systems to upgrade to Windows 10.
Want some examples? Limiting new processor support to Windows 10, making Microsoft Edge Windows 10 exclusive only to release it later on for Android and iOS as well, or pulling support agents from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 support forums.
Mainstream support for Windows 7 ended on, and mainstream support for Windows 8.1 ended this year on January 9, 2018. Both operating systems are in the extended support phase which means that Microsoft will release security updates for the operating systems but won't push updates with new features anymore.
The roadmap for the end of application submissions and updates for Windows 8.x was published yesterday by Microsoft:
What does it mean? There won't be any new apps for Windows 8.x on the official store starting October 31, 2018. The change won't affect existing applications which developers may still update.
Microsoft stops distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x and earlier devices on July 1, 2019; in other words, if a developer pushes updates for apps that include support support for Windows Phone 8.x, those updates won't make it on Windows Phone 8.x or earlier devices from that day forward.
On July 1, 2023, the same will happen to devices running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.
To highlight what is happening, one has to look at Windows 7 for a moment. Windows 7 did not include an application system or a Store that users could download apps from. When Windows 7 exits the extended support phase, users will still be able to download software, install updates, and install programs on the system provided that individual developers continue to support the operating system and don't implement any barriers that prevents usage on the system.
With Windows 8, things changed. While desktop programs behave the same on Windows 8.x as they do on Windows 7 devices, it is an entirely different situation for apps.
Windows 8.x users won't be able to get new apps for their devices starting four and a half year before extended support runs out. Half a year after extended support runs out, it will be impossible to update existing apps even if the developer ensured that the updates are compatible with Windows 8 systems.
Microsoft made no mention if installed apps will stop working at one point in time or another; since the company did not mention that, I assume that this won't be the case.
Now You: What is your take on this development?
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