Microsoft Details 2019 Editions of Office, Server Products

Microsoft shared some broad plans for its forthcoming Office 2019 productivity suite, as well as Exchange Server 2019, Skype for Business Server 2019 and SharePoint Server 2019, in a Web presentation this week.

The various 2019-branded solutions will get previewed in mid-2018, with product release expected in "late 2018," according to Mark Kashman, a senior product manager at Microsoft. Kashman spoke at Wednesday's Collab365 Global Conference keynote talk hosted by Collaboris. Kashman offered the following slide with those product details:

Office 2019 and 2019-branded application server release schedule. (Source: Microsoft at Collab365 Global Conference keynote of Nov. 1.)

Kashman's talk on "Accelerating Your Digital Transformation," mostly concerned SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business capabilities. He showed them off in a series of demos.

According to Kashman, the cloud momentum behind SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business has been driving adoption. He claimed that 65 percent of all SharePoint seats are online. Those services are being used by 300,000 organizations and 85 percent of the Fortune 500, he added.

Microsoft has seen a 90 percent growth in active users with SharePoint Online. There's also been a 300 percent growth in sync use, Kashman indicated.

He reiterated Microsoft's explanation about how organizations should consider Microsoft's various collaboration technologies. SharePoint rests at the baseline, but there's also the choice to use the Microsoft Teams and Yammer collaboration tools. Microsoft Teams should be used by people who regularly collaborate on core projects, which Microsoft calls the "inner loop." Yammer should be used for more broad and open collaborations across an organization, which Microsoft conceives as the "outer loop." The concept was illustrated in this slide:

[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft Teams vs. Yammer for collaboration. (Source: Microsoft at Collab365 Global Conference keynote of Nov. 1.)

Kashman also briefly updated the audience on Microsoft's SharePoint progress to date, although it's only been a couple of months since the last big roadmap announcement. He offered the following slide, showing what's coming this year and the next:

[Click on image for larger view.] SharePoint roadmap. (Source: Microsoft at Collab365 Global Conference keynote of Nov. 1.)

The items highlighted in green had recently had some sort of change, Kashman indicated.

The Hub Site feature in the chart is a notable new interface that will be coming to SharePoint Online in the first half of next year. It will let organizations combine news, activities and search, which gets done by associating Team Sites and Communications Sites. Kashman didn't offer any further details about Microsoft's roadmap plans. However, a couple of Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals have suggested previously that the Hub Site feature won't be available when SharePoint Server 2019 gets rolled out next year.

Often, Microsoft updates its online products first before its premises-based server products. The SharePoint Online features that can get ported to the server product typically arrive via so-called "Feature Pack" updates. However, Microsoft has previously indicated that not all SharePoint Online features will be available for the server product.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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