Microsoft announced today that it plans to release two feature updates for Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus and System Center Configuration Manage per year.
The company will align release schedules for future Windows and Office 365 ProPlus releases, and targets March and September of each year for those releases.
What's particularly interesting about that from a Windows 10 users perspective is that Microsoft targets September 2017 for the next Windows 10 feature update, codename Redstone 3.
Windows is committing to a predictable twice-per-year feature release schedule, targeting September and March of each year, aligning with Office 365 ProPlus. The next Windows 10 feature update will be targeted for September 2017.
Target does not necessarily mean that the next feature update will be released in September. Microsoft targeted March 2017 for the Creators Update for instance, but did release it in April 2017. It is possible that the Redstone 3 update will be finalized in September but released in October 2017.
Microsoft has yet to reveal the focus of the upcoming feature update for Windows 10. The three previous feature updates, November Update, Anniversary Update and Creators Update, added much needed functionality to the operating system such as support for extensions in Microsoft Edge, Bash shell, Windows Ink, and a lot more.
Another interesting tidbit that was revealed today on the Windows for Business blog was that Microsoft plans to service and support each Windows 10 feature release for 18 months. This falls in line with the company's current stance on supporting the different Windows 10 versions.
Each Windows 10 feature release will be serviced and supported for 18 months. This is consistent with our current Windows 10 approach, but adds further clarity and predictability to organizations by aligning with Office 365 ProPlus.
The first feature update version of Windows 10, in this case the first release version of Windows 10, version 1507, will be retired on May 9, 2017.
Microsoft's stance remains that it will support the two last Current Branch for Business releases. These are currently Windows 10 Version 1511 (November Update), and Windows 10 Version 1607 (Anniversary Update). The Creators Update will become the next Current Branch for Business version about four months after its general availability.
A grace period starts for the oldest feature update that is still supported then. Next up in line is the November Update which Microsoft will end support for in October 2017.
Two feature updates per year put a lot of strain on IT departments. One option that is available is to skip every other release to buy more time for testing and deployment. Enterprise customers may select the Long Term Servicing Branch version of Windows 10 instead, as it is supported for a longer period of time, but most smaller businesses and even home users may not want to pay the premium for that edition, if it is available to them at all, that is.
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