Microsoft extends lifecycle support policy for older products

Microsoft announced this week that a change to its lifecycle support policy will now match end-of-support dates with Patch Tuesday. Users can take advantage of new security updates free of charge.

Windows enterprise customers will get a few more weeks of support for older products and will not have to pay for certain security fixes.

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Microsoft has adjusted its lifecycle support policy so that users can take advantage of patches that are about to be released. Ines Vargas, group manager of Microsoft's Support Lifecycle program, said the change is the result of customer feedback. Previously, support for products ceased at the end of a calendar quarter and customers with products that were no longer supported had to pay for new security fixes.

Vargas said customers questioned not being able to take advantage of security updates that were available just 10 to 15 days later as part of the company's regular Patch Tuesday release. The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker will now match the end-of-support date with the monthly security update.

"This is about making sure our customers have a fully supported product at the end of its lifecycle," Vargas said.

The change immediately impacts Exchange Server 5.5 users. Security bulletin MS06-003, released Tuesday, addresses a vulnerability in that server. Support for the product would have ended December 31, but the policy update now means these users can take advantage of the latest fix free of charge.

"We really want it to be easy for our customers to be fully protected," said Vargas.

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