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Microsoft’s Second Innings with Windows 8.1

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With many bloopers down the line, Microsoft finally took time to understand and deliver on features based on what enterprises needed with its recent announcement of Windows 8.1 release this fall. Windows 8.1 is apparently fashioned in the style of Windows 8 lifecycle policy with support until early 2023. With the end of “Mainstream” support on Jan. 9, 2018, and “Extended” support’s end on Jan. 10, 2023 for Windows 8, the users will have to upgrade to 8.1 within 2 years, and in all probability to newer versions of the OS in the future, in order to receive security patches and other bug fixes.

The availability of a preview of Windows 8.1 Enterprise – the version designed for Microsoft’s volume license customers, was also announced. Windows 8.1 is also being recommended by Microsoft as the alternative to Windows 7 to clients getting off Windows XP. The new enterprise-oriented features allow trusted devices to access secured data on a company’s network and have mobile management additions for businesses supporting worker’s choice of hardware or “bring your own device” trend. Microsoft has not yet set a ship date for Windows 8.1, or the version’s General Availability. When it does, the 24-month clock will start ticking: An October launch of Windows 8.1, for example, means customers will have until October 2015 to finish their upgrades.

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