Microsoft's efforts to offer a version of Windows Server specifically for home server use have now changed. As revealed today in a new PDF FAQ document for the just announced Windows Server 2012 Essentials, the company announced it won't continue to offer new versions of its Windows Home Server product.
In the PDF document, Microsoft states:
Windows Home Server has seen its greatest success in small office/home office (SOHO) environments and among the technology enthusiast community. For this reason, Microsoft is combining the features that were previously only found in Windows Home Server, such as support for DLNA-compliant devices and media streaming, into Windows Server 2012 Essentials and focusing our efforts into making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use—offering an intuitive administration experience, elastic and resilient storage features with Storage Spaces, and robust data protection for the server and client computers.
The first version of Windows Home Server was launched in 2007. It was accompanied by server hardware made specifically for the operating system, including HP's MediaSmart Home Server. However, the home PC server market never really caught on with the general public. The last major version of Windows Home Server was released in March 2011.
Thanks to remco8462 for the tip!