At the end of December, NetMarketShare reported that Windows 7 is the most popular operating system in the world, taking a huge 55% of the market share, compared to Windows 10’s meagre 9.9%, despite being installed over 200 million times since its release in July 2015. Microsoft has been pushing Windows 7 and 8.1 users to take advantage of its free upgrade scheme to graduate to the Windows 10, and its latest tactic seems to be to cast doubt on the security of Windows 7 in an effort to scare that 55% into migrating to the new operating system.
During the latest Windows Weekly podcast (via Forbes), Microsoft’s Marketing Chief Chris Capossela claimed that Windows 7 users should know that they use the old OS “at [their] own risk, at [their] own peril.”
“We do worry when people are running an operating system that’s 10 years old that the next printer they buy isn’t going to work well, or they buy a new game, they buy Fallout 4, a very popular game, and it doesn’t work on a bunch of older machines,” Capossela told hosts Leo Laporte, Mary Jo Foley, and Paul Thurrott. “And so, as we are pushing our ISV [Independent Software Vendor] and hardware partners to build great new stuff that takes advantage of Windows 10 that obviously makes the old stuff really bad and not to mention viruses and security problems.”
Capossela added that it is “so incredibly important to try to end the fragmentation of the Windows install base” in order to get users to a “safer place”.
I am one of many PC users who upgraded my copy of Windows 7 to Windows 10 before rolling back to my old operating system. I did so safe in the knowledge that Windows 7 is just as secure as 10 – Microsoft will maintain official support for the operating system until 2020, and any security update it develops for 10 will be applied to 7 – and the only compatibility issues I ever encountered were during my one month using Windows 10.
Capossela then intimated that Microsoft could adopt a more aggressive strategy to force Windows 7 and 8.1 users to upgrade, saying, “We think every machine that is capable of running Windows 10 we should be doing everything we possibly can to get people to move to Windows 10…We are going to try to find that right balance, but we just know there’s a lot of people out there who constantly kick the can down the street without a little bit more of a, frankly, a push.”
“And so,” he continued, “there’s no doubt with a base as big as ours, it is hard to move anyone to a new model without angering some people. We don’t want to anger anybody, but we do feel a responsibility to get people to a much better place, and Windows 10 is a much better place than Windows 7. We will always give you a way out, but we’re trying to find the right threat balance.”