I received some great information last week with regards to the product lifecycle of XP Embedded from one of our Product Managers, Nic. I thought I would pass on the info to you, along with examples to illustrate different situations. Thanks, Nic!
Windows XP Embedded support is defined by the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy. XPe is categorized in the “Business and Developer product” category and as such, Microsoft supports XPe for a MINIMUM of 10 years at the Service Pack Level. That is 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support.
Mainstream Support covers incident support. With XP Embedded we have paid incident support and OEMs and developers can call Microsoft for support. The current cost in the US is $245 per incident. Mainstream Support also covers Security Updates at no additional cost. This means that as Microsoft discovers fixes security issues, we make those fixes available at not cost. Finally, with mainstream support, Windows XP Embedded customers can request non-security bug fixes. Those are called “hotfixes”.
In the Extended Support phase, Microsoft keeps providing Security Updates at no additional cost.
Beyond the minimum of 10 years of product support, let’s look at what the Support Policy says:
The 10 years of minimum support can be extended when there is a successor product.
Under Microsoft Support Policy, when there is a successor product, the support end date is the greatest of two things:
A. 10 years of support from the original product release. That is 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support)
B. 7 years of support from the successor product release date. That is 2 years of mainstream support from the successor product release date + 5 years of extended support from the successor product release date.
Those exact dates are actually calculated to be the second Tuesday of the next fiscal quarter 5 and 10 years after the release date. As a consequence, a product follows rule B, if a successor is planned and if it hasn’t been released 3 years after the original product release.
This is a straightforward policy, but what does it mean to Windows XP Embedded?Microsoft is committed to the Embedded space and we are committed to have a successor to XPe. We do not know exactly what it will be and we are tentatively targeting a release for the end of 2008
Let’s take a look at what this looks like on a timeline.
In Scenario A, we would have the standard 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support starting at the original product release date.
In this Scenario B, assuming that the Windows XP Embedded Successor product is release in 2008, the mainstream support now lasts until 2010 and the extended support until 2015.
The Support Policy states that Microsoft provides support at the Service Pack Level. Let’s see exactly what this mean.
As part of the effort to continually improve Microsoft software, updates and fixes are created and released for recognized issues. Regularly, many of these fixes are combined into a single package (called a service pack) that is made available for installation. Both the Mainstream Support and Extended Support phases require the product’s supported service pack be installed to continue to receive support (including security updates). Service packs are cumulative, meaning that each new service pack contains all the fixes that are included with previous service packs and any new fixes. This is done so that you do not have to install an earlier version of a service pack before you install the latest version. A Security Rollup Package (SRP) provides a cumulative rollup of security updates that have been offered since the last SRP.
When a service pack is released, Microsoft will provide 12 months of support for the previous service pack. The support may be extended to 24 months for those service packs when Microsoft believes customers will need additional time for testing and deployment. This is often the case for OS Service Packs such as Windows XPe Service Packs. Microsoft will announce support timelines for a previous service
Let’s take a look at what this looks like on a timeline. In this situation, we are assuming that the XPe successor product is being released in 2008 and that there are no more Service Pack released after SP2.
In this situation we see that the support for Windows XP Embedded SP1 ends 2 years after the release of the SP2. (Or to be exact, 2 years + until the second Tuesday of the following fiscal quarter.). It is in mainstream support because during that time, XPe, as a product under the MS Support Policy was in mainstream support. Given the assumption that there are no Service Pack after SP2, after SP1 retires, XPe is solely supported on SP2.
Let’s take a look at what it looks like if the XPe successor product is being released in 2008 and that there is one more service pack released in August 2008..
In this situation we see that the support for Windows XP Embedded SP1 ends 2 years after the release of the SP2. (Or to be exact, 2 years + until the second Tuesday of the following fiscal quarter.). It is in mainstream support because during that time, XPe, as a product under the MS Support Policy was in mainstream support. Given the assumption that there is a Service Pack after SP2, SP2 will be retired no earlier than 8/1/2009. During that time, XP Embedded as a product is in mainstream support and as a consequence, SP2 would be supported in mainstream support. SP3 would be in mainstream support until 2010, two years after the release of the Xpe successor. It would them move to extended support until 2015.
In summary, Windows XP Embedded is in mainstream support until its successor comes and for 2 years after that.
Windows XPe SP2 mainstream support will continue until
- 2 years after the XPe successor product is released OR
- At least 12 months after a new SP, if it were to be released
WHICHEVER COMES FIRST
NOTE: The release of Feature Pack 2007 does not reset or change this lifecycle policy in any way- Feature Pack 2007 is a supplement to XPe SP2, so the lifecycle will continue to map to that service pack moving forward.
Finally you can find the complete information about the MS Support Policy at the following URL: