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Microsoft Ships Betas of Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Server

Microsoft announced this week it is shipping the second beta test version -- which is also the first public beta test -- of Exchange Server 2007, as well as Forefront Server for Exchange Server.

As previously reported, with Beta 2, Exchange 2007 is feature complete and on track for commercial release either late this year or in early 2007, according to a prepared statement from Microsoft.

The company has said it is concentrating on three main themes in the next version of its by-now mature messaging server -- anywhere access, including Microsoft's unified communications plans, as well as built-in protection and operational efficiency.

Among the enhancements coming in Exchange 2007 are the ability for users of handheld devices to search for messages that they have deleted from the handheld but still reside on the server. Another will be improved meeting handling, self-service remote device wipe through Outlook Web Access, support for HTML e-mail and the ability to flag messages.

Exchange 2007 will also allow improved collaboration through a feature called Calendar Concierge and out-of-office improvements, which depend on Office 2007, as well, according to the company.

Additionally, it has begun beta testing of Forefront Server for Exchange Server.

In June, Microsoft renamed its Antigen products, which use multiple virus scanning engines to protect Exchange Server and SharePoint, to the new Forefront branding. The Antigen products were acquired by Microsoft in June 2005 when it bought out Sybari Software. Following the acquisition, Microsoft discontinued Sybari's products for Linux and Unix.

Microsoft announced the Forefront branding at the company's TechEd 2006 Conference in Boston.

Besides Forefront releases for Exchange 2007 and SharePoint, which the company's Web site has pegged for shipment in the second half of this year, the company is also shooting to have releases for the desktop, called Forefront Client, and for Office Communications out in the first half of 2007. A release for Internet Security and Acceleration Server is scheduled for release in the second half of 2007 or later, according to statements on the site.

Exchange Server 2007 beta 2 is available for download here. Forefront Security for Exchange Server beta can be downloaded here.

Scott Bekker contributed to this report.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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