Windows 7 Pro has been granted an extension to its life cycle

First, the good news: Microsoft has extended the end-of-life date for PCs that come pre-installed with Windows 7. Now for the bad news: It won’t matter to you unless you’re willing to splurge on a business machine, as the stay of execution only affects computers pre-loaded with Windows 7 Professional. Computers packing the consumer versions of Windows 7 still have a date with the chopping block on October 31.

Microsoft’s business model for Windows has historically been complex, with a mix of different editions, a partner-centric sales channel, and Byzantine licensing rules. Throw in a 10-year support lifecycle aimed at long-term business use and you have the perfect recipe for bumpy transitions between Windows versions. That’s the backstory behind today’s announcement that Windows 7 Pro will remain available for sale on new PCs for at least a year longer than what historically would have been its end-of-sales date. Businesses have voted with their pocketbooks: Windows 7 Pro is the long-term support edition, especially well suited to traditional PC form factors; Windows 8 and beyond will predominate in consumer channels, especially on smaller, touch-enabled devices intended for mobile use.

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