Microsoft Corp. yesterday said it would limit support for three versions of the Windows Vista operating system, including its most expensive, to five years rather than the usual 10 years.
The company defended the difference by noting that the clock just started ticking. "End of life-cycle support for Windows Vista is still five years out," a spokesperson said in an e-mail response.
However, the software maker left the door ajar. "As we've done in the past, Microsoft will continue to evaluate the support life cycle for Windows Vista and make decisions about extending support if and when it is necessary," the spokesperson added.
Although the corporate editions of Vista -- Business and Enterprise -- will be supported for the usual "5 + 5" span that includes five years of what Microsoft calls "mainstream" support and another five of "extended" support, the consumer versions currently have an end date of April 10, 2012. Vista Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate will stop receiving updates, even critical security updates, after that. Ultimate, which retails for $499 ($299 for an upgrade), is the priciest Vista edition, and is touted by Microsoft in its marketing materials as offering "all of the features found in Windows Vista Home Premium [and] also all of the features found in Windows Vista Business."