Describe private, public preview, and general availability releases


A product, or services, lifecycle typically has three phases:

  1. Private preview
  2. Public preview
  3. General Availability (GA)

Private preview

A product, or service, might be released to a limited number of users in a private preview to test new features or functionality. Typically, users can sign up to be members of a private preview, but the preview release isn't made available to the general public.

Public preview

To receive feedback from a broad range of users, Microsoft typically releases public previews of products and services before their GA release. These products and services are clearly marked as preview and include beta or pre-release features and services. Because preview features are pre-release, they aren't supported and should only be used to test upcoming functionality.

General availability (GA)

When a product or service is GA, it's the release version and is fully supported. GA products and services have been through a full development and test lifecycle to ensure stability and reliability. With Microsoft 365, new features are added to the products and services periodically. It's useful for IT developers, and administrators, to be aware of preview features before they have their GA release. Organizations can then educate users about these new features and ensure products are used optimally.

End of support

Eventually older products can no longer be supported and these products will reach the end of support. Once a product reaches end of support it will no longer receive updates.

For more information on end of support, see Overview - Product end of support.