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Exchange 2010 Focuses on Archiving, S+S and UC

Microsoft released the public beta of Exchange 2010 this week. Kurt Mackie covered the release for us, and also covered the new branding and timetable for the rest of the Microsoft Office releases -- Microsoft Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Project 2010 and Visio 2010. The upshot: Exchange is out in beta now, and will be generally available in the second half of this year. The other products are slated to be released as technical previews in Q3, with release to manufacturing dates some time in the first half of 2010.

From a channel perspective, at least three elements of Exchange 2010 are immediately interesting.

  1. Microsoft has made a big move into the archiving space with Exchange 2010. Archiving is a big value-add for ISVs and solution providers now. But as with all things in the Microsoft ecosystem, feature sets once delivered by third parties eventually get rolled into the base product. If the past is any guide, Microsoft's archiving implementation will be limited compared to third-party offerings at first, and smart channel partners will be able to manage the transition. There's a potential upside, as well. According to Osterman Research data cited by Microsoft, only 28 percent of companies currently archive their e-mails. Turning on a built-in archiving feature set could be a good opportunity for partners.

  2. In a Q&A posted on Microsoft's site, Chris Capossela, senior vice president of Microsoft Information Worker Product Management Group, said that Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie's famous Software plus Services memo was the foundation for the development of Exchange 2010. Elsewhere, Microsoft says the new version is the first in a wave of server products architected from the ground up to be offered on-premise, partner-hosted or Microsoft-hosted. We'll see what that means over the next few months.

  3. Exchange 2010 is being billed as the next step in Microsoft's unified communications (UC) strategy. New features include the ability to view preview text of voicemails within an Outlook inbox before acting on the messages and an ability to create call answering rules through Exchange.

Those are my first-blush reactions. What channel business opportunities, or threats, are you seeing in the latest version of Microsoft's latest version of Exchange? Are you more interested in what's happening with Exchange 2010 or SharePoint 2010? Let me know at [email protected].

Posted by Scott Bekker on April 16, 2009