REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 14, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of Microsoft® Exchange “12” Beta 1 — the code name for the next version of its leading server for e-mail, calendaring and unified messaging, to a select group of testers. Exchange “12” will reduce the cost and complexity of the messaging system by providing more control for IT administrators, more value and expanded inbox access for end users, and increased security and compliance for organizations. With the release of Beta 1 — a major development milestone that gives customers, original equipment manufacturers, independent software vendors and systems integrators worldwide the opportunity to preview and provide feedback on Exchange “12” — Microsoft is on track to make the final release generally available in late 2006 or early 2007.
“Today, end users are demanding 24x7 global access to their inboxes from a broader range of devices. At the same time, organizations are faced with spam and virus threats, and the demands of maintaining compliance with emerging regulatory requirements,” said David Thompson, corporate vice president of Exchange Server at Microsoft. “Exchange ‘12’ is a highly available messaging solution that allows IT administrators to address these challenges.”
More Control for IT Administrators
As a mission-critical application, e-mail often places heavy demands on IT administrators. They need to ensure that their messaging system achieves the highest level of availability and can be easily scaled to add users with limited cost impact. To support this, Exchange “12” will run on 64-bit server systems that can deliver extended functionality, greater scalability and increase the return on existing storage investments. In addition, having the tools to ensure they are being as efficient and productive as possible is critical for IT administrators as their workloads increase. Key new features in Exchange “12” Beta 1 to help IT administrators meet these needs include the following:
Simple and flexible deployment based on specific server roles gives IT administrators the option to install precisely the components of Exchange “12” that they need, whether on one or more physical servers. This flexibility simplifies deployment, allows for greater scalability and improves manageability.
Exchange System Manager increases administrator productivity by providing simplified navigation and new filtering capabilities through a completely rewritten graphical management console.
A scriptable, command line shell saves IT administrators countless hours by allowing routine and repetitive tasks to be automated. Based on Windows® “Monad,” the code name for the next version of the Windows command shell, it includes capabilities above and beyond the Exchange System Manager.
Automatic client detection and configuration simplifies Outlook® setup and helps avoid end-user confusion, reducing the occurrence rate of one of the most common help-desk inquiries.
More Inbox Value With Expanded Access for End Users
Information workers want the freedom to access their inbox regardless of where they may be. They also want their various forms of communication to be stored in a single location. Exchange “12” revolutionizes access by offering a speech-enabled unified messaging platform that integrates e-mail, fax and voice mail in the user’s inbox with support for a variety of clients, including traditional and mobile phones. In addition, Exchange “12” includes updates to Outlook Web Access, the client that allows users to access their inboxes with a Web browser from virtually anywhere, with no need for a special network connection.
Key Exchange “12” Beta 1 additions and enhancements in this area include the following:
A unified messaging system delivers voice mail and faxes to the Exchange inbox where, like e-mail, they can be accessed by Outlook, Outlook Web Access, mobile devices, and any phone through Outlook Voice Access with speech recognition.
Improved Outlook Web Access provides the best Outlook experience available in a Web browser while offering information workers the rich and familiar interface they will experience with Outlook “12.”
A Scheduling Assistant streamlines meeting scheduling by making it easy to book attendees, rooms and resources and visually present options for best times.
Active Messaging Protection for the Entire Organization
Security remains a top priority for all companies. IT administrators must deal with increasing virus and spam threats. “Spam represents 39 percent of total e-mail sent on an average day in North America in 2005, up from 24 percent three years ago," said Mark Levitt, vice president of Collaborative Computing at IDC. IT administrators need an integrated solution that can automatically inspect and clean both inbound and outbound messages and that stays up to date as threats evolve. Exchange “12” Beta 1 delivers the first wave of functionality to help protect and secure the messaging environment.
Key Exchange “12” Beta 1 improvements in this area include the following:
Built-in anti-spam protection uses a multi-pronged approach to block unwanted messages, helping reduce spam and offering protection against phishing attacks.
Automatic updates for anti-spam filters, block lists and reputation services ensure that the Exchange environment is protected with the latest updates without requiring administrator intervention.
Flexible anti-virus extensibility allows messages to be scanned in transport as well as in the mailbox store by one or more anti-virus engines.
Powerful attachment filtering enables administrators to stop inbound and outbound attachments based on file extension, file name or content type.
“Exchange ‘12’ will offer a number of improvements over Exchange 2003,” notes Erica Rugullies, principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., in her December 2005 report titled “Plan Now for Microsoft Exchange ’12.’” “Exchange ‘12’ promises unified messaging, improved security and manageability through a set of server roles, easier integration with applications through Web services, and improved performance and scalability through 64-bit support.”
Support for Developers
Exchange “12” improves programmability and data access for corporate and professional developers. Exchange Web Services is a new, standards-based application programming interface to inbox data that simplifies development and helps organizations develop rich line-of-business and service-oriented applications that integrate with Exchange. More information about Exchange “12” can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/preview.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.