I came across a page on Microsoft’s website about the Support Lifecycle for Windows 8.1 stating that “the lifecycle of Windows 8.1 will remain under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8 with support ending 1/10/2023″. This is interesting because it tells us that Microsoft really does consider Windows 8.1 just an update to Windows 8 and not a new version. They state this later on the page that “Windows 8 customers will have two years to move to Windows 8.1 after the General Availability of the Windows 8.1 update to continue to remain supported under the Windows 8 lifecycle”. So if you want to continue to get updates to Windows 8 you will have to upgrade to Windows 8.1 within two years after Windows 8.1 is released this October. This is more in like with a service pack which is what Windows 8.1 basically is but it is a new way of doing service packs and really I like it. You can read the support lifecycle for Windows 8.1 and check it out.
So the thing to remember, Windows 8.1 is not a new version of Windows, just an update to Windows 8, and the Support Lifecycle for Windows 8.1 is the same as Windows 8. I really feel like Microsoft is trying to avoid having another Windows Vista by not calling this update a service pack, which after getting this information Windows 8.1 is basically Windows 8 Service Pack 1, granted there are many user interface changes we usually do not see in service packs. It will be interesting to see how this play out and if this helps the perception about Windows 8 and Microsoft.