Update 2/2/15: Microsoft reconfirms new on-premise version named SharePoint Server 2016
Update 4/22/15: Microsoft announced plans for a public beta in 2016 and general availability in the 2nd quarter of 2016.
Now that Office 2016 has been announced as the official name of the next version of Office, it’s safe to assume that SharePoint’s next on-premise version will also be named SharePoint 2016.
The announcements yesterday also confirmed that Office 2016 will be available in the second half of 2015. Considering SharePoint and Exchange releases normally occur about the same time as Office releases, it’s pretty safe to assume SharePoint 2016 will also be available before the end of the year.
What To Expect
Don’t expect the next version to get everything SharePoint Online has.
Microsoft has already said that functionality added to SharePoint Online in Office 365 may not be added to SharePoint outside of Office 365. We could call that SharePoint On-Premises. I think they’ll continue to refer to them as SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2016. I wouldn’t expect Delve or Office 365 Groups to be delivered on-premises. I do expect some kind of effort to allow Delve, running in the cloud, to reach into on-premises servers.
Microsoft has refocused on cloud. That’s where the major investments are being made. This next release is meant to try to appease those who won’t go cloud yet. Tony Redmond says it well on his blog post.
Which brings me to the point that Microsoft has a lot of these [on-premises] customers and they have to be helped, supported, and kept interested or else the connection that exists between Microsoft and these customers might be broken.
I could be wrong, but I expect SharePoint On-Premises will get the minimum amount of functionality effort that the Microsoft SharePoint Product decision makes judges will do just that. Enough to keep the legacy customers supported and maybe enough to keep them interested.
Check Out the new (free) Touch Office
Besides, the cloud, another of Microsoft’s newest pushes is into software for devices. Look for free versions of all Office programs on all major device platforms soon. Like iOS, there may be paid upgrade options above the basic functionality. On iOS, that means buying Office 365 if you want to edit on the iPad. This way, even the devices push supports the cloud focus.
Along with Office 2016, Office for Windows 10 was announced. It’s the first touch friendly version of Office for Windows. And Windows 10 will run on phones, too. So Office for Windows 10 will finally bring Office to phones with Windows. It’s important to say phones with Windows instead of Windows Phone. Windows Phone is the current mobile OS from Microsoft. Windows 10 isn’t the same thing. Will there be a migration plan? We’ll see. For the sake of those that have bought a Windows Phone, I hope so.
Check out this 7 minute YouTube video showing the new Office for Windows 10 in action on a Surface. Looks a lot like the iOS version, so it should be pretty good.