This week Apple issued security updates for their OS X 10.9 (Maverick), 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and 10.7 (Lion) operating systems, but declined to offer anything for OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). This is the second time in a row that Snow leopard has missed out on patching, and shows that Apple will no longer support the four and a half year old operating system.
Windows XP, by comparison, was released 12 and a half years ago and its extended support will expire April 8, 2014. While Apple users are able to upgrade their OS for free, which you can’t do with Windows, there are some older computers that are unable to run anything more advanced than Snow Leopard, and so will be left without security and forced to upgrade computers to remain secure.
Apple’s decision is likely to be due to the upcoming release of a new OS X, with the promise of annual upgrades. With shorter time frames between new additions and more patching and upgrades than ever before, that Apple are unable to support legacy operating systems for as long as previously.