Microsoft has announced that as of 30 November 2013, Windows 7 will no longer be sold through the company’s online store or to retail channel partners.
The software giant is retiring Windows 7 across the market and ending distribution is the first step. Retailers who still have orders in progress will have them fulfilled, but afterwards the OS will no longer be sold. OEM partners may sell systems pre-loaded with the outgoing OS until 30 October 2014.
Windows 7 will also not see a second service pack, as Microsoft has discontinued the practice of releasing updates rolled into a single installer. Updates for the OS will be available through the Windows Update service until 13 January 2015, after which the OS will continue to receive critical security updates and patches for exploits until 14 January 2020.
Its the end of the road for the operating system that changed everything for the Redmond-based company. Windows 7 has been its most successful venture after XP to date and it also is the most widely adopted among PC gamers, sitting at an astounding 64.38% according to the latest Steam Hardware and Software User survey.
It was also Microsoft’s fastest-selling operating system. Pre-orders for Windows 7 sold out when Amazon began accepting them. In a mere eight hours, more pre-orders for Windows 7 had been placed than Amazon’s sales of Windows Vista in the first 17 weeks after launch. In Japan the OS sold out only 36 hours after launch and worldwide passed Apple’s OS X Snow Leopard market share within two weeks.
Across the board review sites scored the operating system very high. CNET awarded it 4.5/5 stars, calling it “what Vista should have been.” Maximum PC awarded it 9/10 stars and said that it was “nearly perfect,” and that “the taskbar alone is worth it.” Engadget, TechRadar, and New York Times awarded the OS full marks, with Engadget particularly giddy over how much faster it was than Vista or XP.
According to the latest results from Net Marketshare, across all editions Windows 8 commands just over 7.4% market share worldwide, which doesn’t really compare to Windows 7’s 37.29% and Windows XP’s 24.96% market share. Microsoft has a long way to go before Windows 8 begins to properly catch up and consumers see it in a more positive light.