Microsoft: Help Spread the Word that SharePoint On-Premises is NOT Dead

There’s been this rumor lately that SharePoint on-premises is dead. It is not, and I’ve told you so before, so you’re kinda stupid if you still think so. Anything I say is always correct. Just live with it.

Don’t want to take my word for it? Fine, I’ll show you evidence, but first, let me quickly recap what’s happened.

SharePoint 2016: Another Brief History of Nearly Everything

Back in the spring of 2012, Microsoft made the now famous comment of “cloud first” in their strategy for SharePoint. Then, when SharePoint 2013 came out, it seemed that there were few, if any, on-premises news at all. Few new features, still many of the same caveats; it could be seen and by some was seen as a sign that the on-premises version was now a red-haired step-child in Redmond.

A few months later, and I’m leaving names out to protect the innocent or ignorant, someone apparently reputable in the community had overhead parts of a conversation during the MVP summit, where someone else, who was in a position to know these things, stated that the on-premises version was going away.

Note: Yeah, this is all “he said, she said” and you should start to catch on right about now.

This lead to an uproar in the SharePoint community. Participants expressed everything from “Finally, the witch is dead” to “You’ll have to pry SharePoint on-premises from my cold, dead fingers”.

Of more concern to Microsoft, however, was that customers started getting nervous. With no clear message about the future, customers were hesitant to invest in SharePoint on-premises, and for those that couldn’t move to Office364.67, there were no offerings from Microsoft at all.

To put people’s minds at ease, Jeff Teper stated in no uncertain terms that there will be another version of SharePoint for on-premises clients, and for a while, there was great rejoice in the kingdom.

But it wasn’t enough. Even though Jeff confirmed an upcoming version during the SharePoint conference in Las Vegas in March 2014, the speculation turned away from whether there would be a new version at all to whether the upcoming version would be the last.

It’s not. And, if you actually know how to read, Microsoft has been saying that all along.

That’s What She Said

In case you haven’t bothered reading the initial confirmation from Jeff Teper, let me restate what he said: “We are committed to on-premises releases of SharePoint and Exchange on a comparable cadence to past server releases. “, with my emphasis added.

This public statement was from November 2013.

You could argue that the use of “releases” as opposed to “a release” could be a simple typo, but you can hardly argue that “comparable cadence to past server releases” is a simple slip of the fingers.

That didn’t stop anyone from speculating, though, and in recent weeks (I know, relative time references, right?) “someone” had overheard “someone else” saying that the next version would be the definite final on-premises version.

And we’re back to the “he said, she said” level. It’s not more trustworthy this time around, in case you’re not getting the implicit sarcasm.

Microsoft Needs Your Help!

So, this week, after continued discussion in SPYam, Jeff Teper clarified. It shouldn’t be necessary, but hey, he’s turning into an awesome guy, so he did anyway.

Here’s the quote he quipped:

I don’t know how to say this more clearly. We plan to do future server releases. We committed to a timeframe for the next one. We never have communicated or contemplated that its the last one and I’d ask you guys help correct people who might make that up. Just we’re not getting ahead of ourselves and talking about plans we’ve not made yet for n + 2 which we’ve never done in the history of the product.

This pretty much sums up everything that reasonable people (read: me) have been saying all along, and it makes a lot of sense. The fact that Microsoft isn’t announcing SharePoint 2019 doesn’t mean it won’t come; just that they’re focusing on SharePoint 2016 first. For the same reason, you’re not focused on next year’s vacation until you’ve completed the vacation this year, at least not nearly in the same amount.

And since Jeff is a nice guy (or has been replaced by aliens) let me do what he says and do Microsoft a favor.

SharePoint On-Premises is NOT Dead!

It isn’t dead now, it won’t be dead after the next version, and you can put that on a t-shirt.



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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

7 thoughts on “Microsoft: Help Spread the Word that SharePoint On-Premises is NOT Dead”

  1. SharePoint on-prem might not be dead (didn’t believe so either), but it’s lagging far behind the cloud offerings. Office Graph, “Oslo”, iPad Office, SP Search push to index (soon) etc are all cloud first, and we don’t know when/if they will be offered on-prem.

    Working in a company where Office 365 or SharePoint Online is not an option, it’s frustrating that on-prem is a second best offering.

    1. Really not that much different in SP Online vs. on-prem.

      It is not like it is an altogether different product, SP is still SP even if it’s hosted in Azure.

      The functionality which hits the O365 subscribers first will eventually trickle down onto on-prem releases, either through Service Packs, as did Yammer and OneDrive integration in SP1, or with new versions of SP, such as SP 2016.

  2. Thank you for being the lone voice of reason on this one, Bjorn. You weathered ridicule and scorn for taking the hard stance that on prem was not going away — and yet you stayed true. Good for you.

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