Next Major Windows 10 Updates Reportedly Coming June 2016 and Spring 2017
Microsoft's traditional fall and summer Windows 10 update release cycle, as seen last year, may not be the pattern for this year, according to reports.
That idea comes from a WinBeta story, which indicated that Microsoft's forthcoming "Redstone" Windows 10 releases will happen in June 2016 and spring 2017. No Microsoft sources were named in that story to confirm the information. This alleged change in plans, though, was confirmed today by veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley, who cited unnamed sources.
Microsoft isn't confirming the information, though, so it's at the rumor stage.
"Microsoft doesn't have anything to share," a spokesperson said, when asked about these Redstone Windows 10 release plans.
The Redstone name is said to be a code word used internally by Microsoft for its major Windows 10 build releases. Purportedly, Redstone was to follow the lines of a spring and summer release cycle that Microsoft initially had laid out for Windows 10 last year. Back then in 2015, the releases went by the "Threshold" (TH) code name. There was a TH1 release and a TH2 release.
When Microsoft does talk publicly about its Windows 10 releases, it uses terms like "current branch" and "current branch for business" as major release milestones. It uses a year/month numbering system to refer to them, too. For instance, last year's Windows 10 releases were labeled "1507" and "1511" for July and November 2015, respectively.
A description of Microsoft's current branch and current branch for business numbering scheme can be found in this Microsoft TechNet article. Minor Windows 10 updates also happen on a quasi-monthly basis, and that's partially explained by Microsoft here.
The current branch for business milestones are important for IT pros to note since they must update Windows 10 to the next current branch for business release within about eight months' time. Failing to get to the next current branch for business in a timely manner means that organizations won't get new operating system updates and security bulletins for Windows 10, which puts organizations potentially at risk.
It's not clear if the purported Redstone 2 (RS2) pushback to spring 2017, if true, alters this current branch for business update responsibility for IT pros.
Foley said the pushback was happening because Microsoft wants to support new Windows 10 devices yet to come, per her sources. She noted that the company has had power management problems with its Surface devices using Intel's "Skylake" processors and it likely needs more time to address Intel's newer emerging processors, such as "Kaby Lake," arriving year-end 2016.
Perhaps that's the case, but Microsoft isn't commenting on such matters. It has, though, shortened its product lifecycle support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on machines using Intel Skylake processors. That was an unusual change in policy for Microsoft to make. It suggests that some sort of alteration of the traditional "Wintel" collaboration model has occurred.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.