On November 1, 2008, Microsoft stopped licensing one of its most popular operating systems. Can you identify which one it is?
The abandoned OS in question is Windows 3.11. Specifically it's Windows For Workgroups 3.11 Embedded. Here's the complete text of Jim Coyne's blog from MSDN on the subject:
It's the End for 3.11!! for those that were not aware, we recently announced that effective November 1st, 2008, OEM's will no longer be able to license Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in the embedded channel. Now we all know that it's been long gone in the standard (retail/OEM) channel, but one of the unique things in the embedded business is that we allow the classic OS products to be sold longer than the other channels. It's *finally the end of an era!
As you can tell I left out the bit about it being the embedded version. I thought that might make it easier. However, I wasn't aware that Microsoft was issuing licenses for any OS that old, embedded or not.
Microsoft's Product Support database shows that support for Windows For Workgroups ended back in 2001. The only embedded OS I could find information for was Windows CE 6.0 Embedded, which continues to be supported after 2015. Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 is the only version currently supported in the XP Embedded line.
I couldn't find any licensing information on Windows For Workgroups at all. Microsoft maintains a list of operating systems and their license lifecycles, but Windows For Workgroups isn't on that list, nor are any of the other embedded products. The list includes Windows 95 and goes all the way back to DOS.
Of most interest is the fact that the time is ticking on Windows XP unless Microsoft issues another stay of execution. The fine print points out that XP Home will still be available for Ultra Low Cost PCs until 2010.