Today ZDNet uncovered the fact that Microsoft is adding two years of mainstream support to Windows Server 2008.

Microsoft products tend to have a period of 5 years of mainstream and free support, followed by another half decade of support which is not free. That last 5 years is known as ‘extended’ status.

The additional two years of free support for Windows Server 2008 will stretch its status as mainstream until January of 2015.

Why would the company do such a thing? Mary Jo Foley dug up the following quotes from the company’s, wait for it, lifecycle newsletter [Bold: TNW]:

“The Microsoft policy provides a minimum of five years of Mainstream Support or two years of Mainstream Support after the successor product ships, whichever is longer[.] Modifications to the expiration dates for Windows Server 2008 are a result of the launch of Windows Server 2012, giving customers the additional 2 years of support.”

In short, Microsoft will provide normal support to its products until two years after the next version ships. So, given the gap length between Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012, the company is tacking on two more years of mainstream support. This is good for version 2008 users who are not perhaps keen to dive into the 2012 edition, which sports a new user interface, among other changes and upgrades.

TNW brings you this specific news to avoid any fanboy bellyaching that Microsoft is only extending support due to slack demand for its next crop of products. This appears to be standard operating procedure.

Enjoy your free gift, Windows Server 2008 users.

Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble