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Microsoft releases to manufacturing SharePoint Server 2016

Microsoft has RTM'd SharePoint Server 2016 and Project Server 2016. The company will share more about the future of SharePoint and OneDrive for Business on May 4.

Microsoft has released to manufacturing (RTM'd) its SharePoint Server 2016 product, officials announced March 14.

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SharePoint 2016 will be focused, like its predecessor SharePoint Server 2013, on managing files, content management, sites and portals.

Today's RTM of SharePoint Server 2016, as well as the accompanying Project Server 2016 and Office Online Server, follows on the heels of the first release candidates of the products in January 2016. At that time, Microsoft officials said SharePoint Server 2016 and Project Server 2016 would be generally available in the Spring of 2016.

I've asked Microsoft if the company would share more specific availability dates for MSDN/TechNet customers. No word back so far. But there is an RTM trial version of SharePoint Server 2016 available for download today. And volume licensees will be able to get the final bits in May from the Volume Licensing Service Center, Microsoft officials said today.

The focus of this release of SharePoint Server is on hybrid-computing scenarios, especially in search, officials have said. It also will add more data security and compliance support and better access to mobile content and applications. Many of the features in this release of SharePoint Server are already available in SharePoint Online.

Microsoft officials said last year that SharePoint Server 2016 will not be the last on-premises version of SharePoint. More versions are planned "for the foreseeable future," officials said.

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And SharePoint Online won't be dismantled and replaced by a bunch of Office 365 features, officials also said, as it will continue to act as the platform underlying a number of Office 365 services, like Microsoft's Video portal, OneDrive for Business cloud storage, Team Sites and Delve, Microsoft's business app that looks and feels a lot like Flipboard.

So what's next for SharePoint? Today's RTM blog post provides some very general guidelines.

"We are on a mission to make SharePoint more simple, mobile, intelligent and secure to help customers unlock the value of having it as an integrated part of Office 365. This year, we will release significant new innovations spanning user experiences, document collaboration, mobile enhancements and platform improvements that will redefine modern content collaboration," blogged Seth Patton, General Manager for the SharePoint and OneDrive Product Management team.

Microsoft also plans to hold a virtual event on May 4 where execs will "unveil our vision and roadmap for the future of SharePoint" and OneDrive for Business -- "both on-premises and in the cloud with Office 365." Registration for "The Future of SharePoint" event is open today.

Last week, I blogged about Microsoft's latest plans for OneDrive for Business during the first half of this calendar year.

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