A Nail In The Coffin For Windows 98

    July 11, 2006

From this day forward, users of Windows 98 and Windows ME may be on their own. Microsoft will stop offering updates and support (even of the “paid” variety) for these products. The company seems to be hoping this will lead to increased sales of newer Windows versions.

“Microsoft works closely with leading retailers to undertake promotions such as upgrade discounts to encourage users to upgrade to Windows XP,” said Peter Watson, chief security advisor of Microsoft Australia, to ZDNet Australia. But there are some who believe this move could lead users to switch to Linux.

Michael Silver, the research vice president of client platforms at Gartner, is of this opinion. “I suspect that Microsoft’s original extension of the Windows 98 support date a couple of years ago was, in part, to make sure Linux was not brought in to replace these systems,” Silver said, according to CNET. Support of the operating system was initially due to be cut off in late 2003.

Mikko Hyponnen of the Finnish security firm F-Secure isn’t sure that users of the older operating systems need to upgrade at all, whether to a newer version of Windows or Linux. Speaking to Mark Ward of the BBC, he said, “In fact, 98 users are not at that great a risk as people might think: most of the new malware we see simply won’t run there.”

Nonetheless, this act may leave a lot of people feeling abandoned. The BBC reported that “more than 70 million users will be hit by the change.”

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.