Microsoft Tweaks Support Lifecycle
Microsoft Corp. today announced that it is slightly modifying its support lifecycle
to provide what it calls “more predictability” for customers.
The change was driven by the end of support for Exchange Server 5.5. That occurred
on the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, 2005. But this is the first “Patch
Tuesday” of the new year and, despite the end of support 10 days ago,
Microsoft released a security bulletin and patch for a critical vulnerability
in the aging e-mail server.
So from now on, product support periods, which traditionally end at quarterly
cut-off dates, will be extended to the date of the next regular security update
for that product.
“Microsoft is changing [the support lifecycle] by matching the date the
product-support lifecycle ends with the regular, monthly security update release
cycle,” Microsoft officials said in a statement. “Effective today,
Microsoft is changing that by matching the date the product-support lifecycle
ends with the regular, monthly security update release cycle,” the statement
Though small, the 10-to-15-day gap could confuse customers.
Microsoft standardized its product support lifecycle beginning in 2002. The
company provides five years of mainstream support for most products. That is
followed by two years of extended support -- read “paid” support.
In 2004, however, Microsoft lengthened the period for extended support to five
The patch for the critical Exchange 5.5 hole is available here. The remote execution flaw also affects some versions of Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook.
The Exchange patch was one of two posted Tuesday. Microsoft also released a patch for a critical remote execution flaw in Windows, available here.
Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.