Platforms are for life, not six years

Just as a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas, so proprietary software should be, if not for life, then at least for a more...

Just as a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas, so proprietary software should be, if not for life, then at least for a more substantial period of time than the current rate of product churn by the major software suppliers allows.

Microsoft's announcement this week that it is to end mainstream support for the NT4 server operating system leaves enterprise users having to choose between an expensive custom support contract, support-free operations, or the upheaval of an upgrade. For organisations that have worked hard to construct robust and mature environments around NT4 since it was launched six years ago, this must be frustrating news.

Users need installations and applications that do what is required of them. When they have them, why should they be expected to jettison them simply because the continued profitability of a software house demands it?

IT suppliers cannot continue to force users down the upgrade road to nowhere. They must display a greater awareness of their duty to their customers by making a far longer-term commitment to software. If they do not, they may find users wondering whether the bad old days of Cobol coding and bespoke software really were so bad, after all.

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