What is the support lifecycle policy for Windows 8.1?
Windows 8.1 falls under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8, and will reach end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the General Availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 have 2 years, until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 in order to remain supported.
Why are you requiring Windows 8 customers move to Windows 8.1 two years after the General Availability?
Historically, we’ve had a similar support approach related to Windows service packs; when a Windows service pack is released, Microsoft provides customers 24 months of support for the prior service pack or original RTM version. Unlike service packs that are typically just a collection of fixes, Windows 8.1 has new features and enhancements. We designed Windows 8.1 to give customers an ability to deploy this update in a manner that is similar to how customers deploy service packs, therefore we are applying the existing service pack support policy to Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 does not change any hardware requirements compared with Windows 8 or Windows 7 and existing Windows Store apps will work with Windows 8.1. The update has little to no impact on existing desktop apps and there is no direct software cost because enterprise customers with Software Assurance licensing will receive Windows 8.1 as a free update. For organizations running legacy applications that need to be upgraded, there are tools to manage deployment in order to help mitigate cost and impact.
What is the lifecycle policy for Windows Embedded 8.1 products?
Windows Embedded 8.1 falls under the same lifecycle policy as Windows Embedded 8 with support ending 7/11/2023. Customers have 24 months to move to the 8.1 version in order to remain supported. This applies to Windows Embedded 8 Industry Enterprise and Industry Pro.