I just tried installing SQL Server 2016 Enterprise but I noticed that Management Studio was not installed by default. I also noticed there is a separate link to SSMS in the installation guide which points to https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt238290.aspx

What was the reason for this decision?

The following is noted on the above URL:

This generally available release of SSMS is free and does not require a SQL Server license to install and use.

Perhaps, this is it?

up vote 22 down vote accepted
  • Hoping that they find a way to make the monthly updates a bit smoother than another 800mb file to download (definitely liking the new process overall though) – Matthew Steeples Jul 12 '16 at 20:42

Team responsible for SMSS got separated and works with its' own development cycle. That means SMSS gets updated/released more often, and is independent from SQL Server releases.

Licencing You've mentioned is probably another reason behind that (and a reasonable one, if You think about it), but what's the most important is that SMSS has got some much needed attention at last.

SSMS is now a stand-alone product. Like most stand-alone product it will receive regular updates. This should ensure stability & give options to evolve the product over time.

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