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RollOut: Microsoft Exchange 2007 Beta 2

The Upshot

With a revamped architecture and a new management interface, Exchange Server 2007 will offer reliable, high-performance e-mail and collaboration. Improvements in the Web version of Outlook and the addition of unified messaging features will create convenient user access.

Microsoft has whittled away at Lotus Notes' market share. Exchange is now the dominant e-mail package, but the platform has lacked support for voicemail and fax--key features of a broader, unified messaging platform.

Exchange Server 2007's 64-bit architecture, with its support for five server roles, will help large organizations improve their e-mail systems' overall performance and scalability. The updated Outlook Web Access truly beats all Webmail competitors. The platform's unified messaging features remain untested, however, and it seems unlikely to displace competing products from leaders such as Alcatel, Nortel and Siemen. Expect Microsoft to introduce tools to help integrate those products into Exchange.

Exchange Server 2007

Microsoft Exchange 2007 may be a few months away from shipping, but the beta is available, and we've taken it for a test drive.

Exchange is the leading corporate e-mail platform, with about one-third of the market, according to The Radicati Group. Over the years, Exchange's revenue and market share have grown considerably, especially in the midsize-to-large-business arena. The system combines the familiar Windows administration, integration with other Microsoft products and an institutional love for Outlook. The platform's entry price is on par with Lotus Notes/Domino, but considerably higher than messaging and collaboration products from second- and third-tier vendors, such as CommuniGate Systems and Rockliffe.

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