For the past several years, Microsoft has delivered its new Windows client and server releases in tandem. But with Windows 10, Microsoft is going to deviate from that practice and postpone its next release of Windows Server until 2016, while its complementary Windows 10 client will roll out in calendar 2015.
Microsoft officials confirmed the decoupling of the coming client and server releases in a blog post on January 29.
Today's blog post doesn't explain why Microsoft officials decided to take this new path. I've heard a few theories. Some believe the next version of Windows Server includes more bugs than Microsoft officials deemed acceptable, leading to a delay in the second public preview from the previously promised "early 2015," to "spring 2015."
Others from whom I have heard wondered whether the delay might be part of Microsoft's ongoing strategy to try to convince more users to move to the cloud, since Microsoft is continuing with its mission to roll out new featues for the cloud first.
There's also the possibility that business users and IT pros have told the company that pushing out another major new Server release just two years after Windows Server 2012 R2 debuted might be too soon.
Microsoft officials declined to say why the company is delaying Windows Server Next. When I spoke to Mike Neil, General Manager of Windows Server at TechEd Barcelona in October, he told me the plan of record was to make the next public preview available in "early 2015," so something changed between then and now.
UPDATE: Microsoft officials provided this statement to explain the delay:
In order to build out these investments and take the time needed, we believe that allowing for adequate customer and partner feedback and participation is critical. Accordingly, we have decided to deliver a series of high-quality preview releases through this calendar year along with investments to accelerate at-scale customer deployments.
Interestingly, Microsoft is not delaying one piece of its System Center management suite. The next version of System Center Configuration Manager will be released alongside Windows 10, which is slated to launch in the fall of 2015, today's blog post confirmed. The blog post does not say the rest of System Center Next will be out this year; in fact, it makes it appear as though the rest of Microsoft's management suite also will be a 2016 deliverable.