It's the end of the first phase of support for Windows 7, as Microsoft's self-imposed deadline to offer mainstream support for the OS ends on Tuesday, January 13. However, the company has pledged to continue to offer extended support for Windows 7 for another five years, until January 14, 2020.
So what does this mean for the over 50 percent of PC users worldwide who have Windows 7 installed? Not a lot, actually. The end of mainstream support for the OS means that Microsoft won't be making any more changes to Windows 7 in terms of its design or features. It also won't provide complementary phone or online support anymore. However, Windows 7 will continue to get security patches and users can still access paid online and phone support for another five years with its extended support schedule.
Last year, Microsoft ended all official support for Windows XP, but the OS, which launched in 2001, is still used by a large fraction of PC users. PCs with Windows 8 and 8.1 have so far not claimed a large amount of market share. Microsoft clearly would like for Windows 10, due to launch in the fall of 2015, to be more successful. Indeed, it seems likely that many Windows 7 users will bypass Windows 8 and 8.1 entirely and move onto Windows 10.