Since Microsoft canceled free access to ANS, and it still irks me that Microsoft is more concerned with making money than the big security picture for all, including those of you who needed ANS to plan patching policies, I’ve rounded up a few Microsoft news items instead of waiting around for the security updates on this Patch Tuesday.
Windows 10 free upgrade policy
After Microsoft announced that a “free upgrade for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 who upgrade in the first year after launch,” and “once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current via Windows Update for the supported lifetime,” there has been some confusion as to whether or not the free upgrade will also apply to Enterprise versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Microsoft attempted to answer that, but it seems to have only muddied up the already murky water by stating, “Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise are not included in the terms of free Windows 10 Upgrade offer….given active Software Assurance customers will continue to have rights to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer.” WindowsITPro said Enterprise will get a free upgrade so long as its Software Assurance contract is valid. If the contract expires, then a larger company should downgrade rights “to the Pro version of Windows and connect it to Windows Update to get the free upgrade.”
Office for Windows 10 will not be a freebie for everyone.
June is Windows 10 RTM release
Regarding Windows 10, Redmond Channel Partner published the 2015 Microsoft Product Roadmap, which states that the anticipated release of Windows 10 is for Fall 2015. Yet Neowin reported that Microsoft has targeted June for the Windows 10 RTM release. With June as the release to manufacturing (RTM) date, as opposed to August, manufacturers will have Windows 10 on devices in time for back to school shoppers instead of Windows 10 devices being ready only by the holiday shopping season.
The end is near for Windows Server 2003
Microsoft pushed for customers still using Windows Server 2003 to migrate now since it reaches end of support on July 14, about five months away. Although Microsoft suggested “Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure, and Office 365 are all great options for migration,” some customers planned to move from Server 2003 to Windows Server vNext. Those customers need a new game plan; when Microsoft shared its Windows Server and System Center roadmap, the company said it delayed the final release until 2016; only “further previews” will be released during 2015.
Gartner warned that choosing to keep running unsupported software like Server 2003 is a hack waiting to happen; if customers don’t migrate before end of free support, attackers will exploit new vulnerabilities that Microsoft won’t patch.
InfoPath Forms Services back from the dead
Last year Microsoft announced InfoPath Forms Services would be removed from SharePoint and replaced by new technologies Microsoft was developing. Yet according to the new Office 365 Roadmap, the status of one of the new technologies, “forms on SharePoint,” has been cancelled. Julia White, general manager of the Office Product Management team, said in a follow-up post about the evolution of SharePoint, Microsoft would continue “to advance the app model we introduced with SharePoint 2013.” That caused some confusion about whether or not InfoPath is back from the dead.
Microsoft has since updated its January 2014 post, adding “InfoPath Forms Services will be included in the next on-premises release of SharePoint Server 2016, as well as being fully supported in Office 365 until further notice…The InfoPath 2013 application remains the last version to be released and will work with SharePoint Server 2016.” Microsoft said we would learn more “specifics” about an evolving SharePoint Server 2016 at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago from May 4 – 8.