On April 12th., 2016, Microsoft officially announced Project "Madeira". Previously the project code named "Madeira" which at that time had only been known as the next release of Dynamics NAV, just as NAV 2016 had been called "Corfu". Madeira was to be a "new" product, SAAS only and tight integrated to Office 365.
Later on July 6th. it was announced that Project "Madeira", together with Dynamics AX (AX7) and Dynamics CRM, would be part of Dynamics 365. Project "Madeira" would become Dynamics 365 for Financials as an part of the Dynamics 365 Business Edition.
When Dynamics 365 for Financials was to be "released" in October, only users in the US and Canada would initially be able to buy the new product. Although developed upon and in Dynamics NAV, and both would co-exists, then D365/Financials users were only to be seen as a subset of the functionality in Dynamics NAV. A lot of the standard functionality of NAV will never see Dynamics 365, while others will be redesigned, before being included in 365, was the message in July. Standard NAV was too complex to let loose on users in a SAAS SMB setup.
In Microsoft this project was seen as one of the most important in many years. Together with the purchase of LinkedIn.com, then this showed that Microsoft was no longer primary a software company, but an online service partner.
In a presentation to partners in May, Microsoft came with the "Extensions are the only way forward enhancing NAV in the future. No matter the customer scenario." statement (*). That lead to a lot of debate in the community, if this would mean that Navision's dead?
Microsoft had shown an early preview of a new page designer, build in to the web client. The changes would be saved as Extensions and published directly. They also showed also a new new code editor and a development language eventually to replace C/AL. All code changes for Extensions 2 should be written a new development language called AL - just as in the old pre Windows versions of Navision. The new code editor would be Microsoft's light weight open source source editor Visual Studio Code. The AL language compiler was to be an open source.
On September 9th. 2016 Microsoft for the first time ever released a "Limited/Go-Live Beta" of Dynamics NAV 2017. A version without some of the changes presented in the 25 previous CTP's (pre-beta versions), that had not yet been finished. But almost ready for production. Just to keep the buzz going.
Dynamics NAV 2017 was released October 24th. 2016 and was a version with many changes. The new features included:
Most of these enhancements where in the areas which would be available to users Dynamics 365 for Financials. Redesigned to make them even easier to use and a bit more "modern". Something as common as Customer Cards and Sales Orders had the biggest changes for years, when addresses where moved away from names.
During the spring of 2017, Microsoft again changed the names of Dynamics 365 for Financials. Not so much due to D365fF, but to avoid misunderstandings from Enterprise customers, who didn't think Dynamics 365 for Operations (AX) had a Financials application included. So now both the AX and the SAAS offering of NAV were called Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, just either Enterprise or Business edition.
On September 17th, at the NAV partner conference Directions in Orlando, USA, the next big announcement came from Microsoft. No new version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV will be released in 2017. Instead the next version of Dynamics NAV will be released in "Spring 2018". Dynamics 365 "Tenerife" will be the common name for both Dynamics NAV on-premise and "NAV SAAS". And then there would be a new "whitelabel" version of "NAV SAAS" - for ISV partners to offer their specialized solutions under their own name.
I did take more than a few days after the conference before Microsoft changed course again. A new Dynamics NAV 2018 will be released in December 2018.
At Directions EMEA in Madrid (October 4th), the message gets a little clearer.
NAV 2018 will get an update in "Spring 2018" to Dynamics NAV 2018 R2, at the same time as the Dynamics 365 "Tenerife" (cloud) release. But that's going to be the last NAV version.
Going forward NAV also becomes Dynamics 365 "Tenerife" (on-premise).