Microsoft ends Windows 98, ME support
Windows 98, 98 SE, and ME have finally been
taken off life support by Microsoft. The company's initial plan was
to discontinue support for Windows 98 and 98 SE in January 2004 with
Windows ME to follow in December of the same year. However, support was
prolonged as Microsoft claimed it felt a need to "assist"
users of those operating systems—particularly those in emerging
markets—with the transition. Indeed, by the end of 2003, Google's
Zeitgeist stats revealed a whopping 27% of
Google users still used Windows 98. Microsoft ended up discontinuing
free support for Windows 98, 98 SE, and ME, but it has continued
offering paid support and security patches until today.
According to a Gartner
analyst quoted by ZDNet, the end of Windows 98 and ME support may
put consumer and school PCs at risk, which could trigger a move to Linux
or Macs. The analyst believes Microsoft initially prolonged support for
Windows 98/ME in order to thwart possible gains by Linux on the desktop.
However, the analyst adds that Microsoft's support policy is better than
that of most Linux vendors, whom he claims generally stop supporting
their distributions after one or two years.