Microsoft's move to extend the life of some of its security tech for veteran OS Windows XP will not stunt the progress of migration campaigns, resellers have insisted.
Over the last 12 months, Microsoft has been hammering the message for businesses and consumers to ditch its 12-year-old operating system before it stops support for it for good in April this year. But despite repeatedly insisting 8 April will be the very end for all XP support, last week it said it would extend the deadline on which it would kill off some antimalware products.
For enterprise customers, the extension applies to System Centre Endpoint Protection, Windows Intune and Forefront Client Security and Endpoint Protection products which run on Windows XP - all of which will now be supported until July 2015.
Channel firms have warned users not to take Microsoft's move as a suggestion it is a soft touch when it comes to XP's end of life, and insist that despite the antimalware extension news, the migration process is in full swing ahead of the April D-day.
Software vendor FrontRange has been migrating its customers off XP and urged them not get too comfy following last week's news.
"Organisations should not be complacent following the latest news of extended security support for XP," said Holger Weeres, FrontRange's product director. "Security is perhaps the leading operational concern for businesses, but this does not mean that XP is now any safer an option, as the support announced is relatively limited."
According to the latest figures from Net Applications, XP's grip on the market finally loosened in December, with its market share dropping below 30 per cent for the first time and that of Windows 8 climbing into the double digits -also for the first time ever.
Softcat's solutions director Sam Routledge said he expected both of these trends to continue despite the latest antimalware announcement.
"I don't think this should take any momentum out of the Windows 7 migration campaign, or rather the ‘get-off-XP' campaign," he said. "From Microsoft's point of view there are a lot of XP users out there, [so the antimalware news] is a public service if anything.
"As a corporate organisation, you'd still be at risk [even with these updates]. We suggest customers make the choice between [Windows 7 and Windows 8] based on their needs. Just get the hell off XP."
Kelvin Kirby, treasurer of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), agreed and said although he had initially worried the antimalware extension would poor cold water on the migration campaign, the deadline is still set in stone.
"My understanding is that come April, [Microsoft] will stop supporting XP as a platform; there won't be support. I don't believe Microsoft will backtrack on XP, it's too late in the process to do that and there would be no benefit do to that anyway.
"Customers should have and should be migrating."
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