We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the release of Exchange Server 2013. This is traditionally the time when people start asking questions like:

When is Service Pack 1 coming?
What’s the timeline for the next Exchange Server release?
What are you cooking up for the next version of Exchange?

This time around, we’re also hearing a few customers ask:

Will there be another version of Exchange Server?

We hope the answer to that question is obvious, but we wanted to go on record to make sure no one is confused. Here are the facts:

  • The Exchange engineering team is hard at work developing the next version of Exchange.
  • We expect the next on-premises version to be released according to our traditional release cadence (2-3 years after the previous version).
  • Microsoft has no plans to stop delivering on-premises releases of Exchange.

It’s true that customers are shifting their Exchange deployments from on-premises to the cloud, and it’s true that we are investing heavily in Office 365. We’re fans of Office 365 because we’ve seen that when customers run email in our cloud, they save money, they get larger mailboxes, and they get faster access to our latest innovations. IT admins spend less time maintaining servers and more time lighting up features that make users happy. Running Office 365 also brings us real-world experience that helps us build a better on-premises product.

While we are enthusiastic about the cloud, we also understand that our customers will transition to the cloud at their own pace. Many customers will remain on-premises or in hybrid deployments for the foreseeable future, and we want to keep delivering our newest and best features to them. Fortunately, our development process allows us to do that. We have a single code base that serves both cloud and on-premises customers, so we can deliver innovation to both groups.

Our development strategy continues to focus on Office 365 as the initial platform where we roll out new features. This approach allows us to introduce and test new features at scale before including relevant functionality into on-premises updates. The benefits of the strategy can be seen in Exchange 2013, where features such as Managed Availability are directly based on work done to automate and improve our datacenter operations. If you want clues about what’s coming in the next version of Exchange Server, keep an eye on what’s happening in Office 365.

It’s an exciting time for messaging and collaboration. Today’s technology trends— cloud, mobile devices, social computing, machine learning—all have the opportunity to make email more useful and powerful. We’ve got some great stuff cooking, and we’re committed to bringing innovation to all of our customers, whether they choose to deploy Exchange in the cloud or on-premises. The Exchange product team and our customers have a 17+ year history of successfully navigating changes in IT architecture and management together. We look forward to continuing that tradition with you.

Perry Clarke
Corporate Vice President
Microsoft Exchange