When Microsoft announced the name of the next version of SharePoint Server -- SharePoint Server 2016 -- company officials said the product would debut in the second half of calendar 2015.
But on April 16, Microsoft execs said that there's a new delivery plan, and SharePoint Server 2016 won't be generally available until the second calendar quarter of 2016. The first public beta of SharePoint Server 2016 won't be available until the fourth calendar quarter of 2015, even though Microsoft officials are on tap to show off and discuss SharePoint Server 2016 in a couple of weeks at the Microsoft Ignite conference.
In a blog post announcing the change, Microsoft officials stressed yet again that the company is committed to continuing to deliver on-premises releases of SharePoint "for the foreseeable future." Officials didn't detail reasons for pushing back SharePoint Server 2016's delivery date, but Microsoft also did push back the next release of Windows Server to calendar 2016, so maybe there are dependencies. (I'll ask Microsoft and see if I can find out.)
Update: The delay doesn't seem Windows Server 2016-related, as SharePoint Server 2016 will be able to run on Windows Server 2012 R2, too, according to one Microsoft employee.
As Microsoft execs said earlier this year, the next SharePoint Server release will include updates to content management, team collaboration and cloud-connected/hybrid functionality.
SharePoint is Microsoft's Swiss Army Knife of servers. It includes collaboration, search, social-networking, content management and business intelligence components. As it has been doing for the past several years, Microsoft plans to take features that it developed and deployed first in the cloud version of SharePoint, SharePoint Online, and bring them to the on-premises version of the product.
In other Office server/service-related news, Microsoft officials announced this week:
- The next on-premises release of Exchange Server, known as Exchange Server 2016, is still due out in the second half of calendar 2015.
- Office 365 is now supporting larger e-mail message sizes (up to 150 MB). Administrators will be allowed to set company policies around allowable message and mailbox sizes, however.
- Office 365 Video is starting to roll out to Office 365 business customers worldwide, as is a native iPhone app for use with the video service
- Microsoft is adding External Messaging to Yammer, so that users can add people outside their organizations/groups, when warranted, to conversations