Last week, we signed off on E12 Beta 1. This is a great milestone for the product and the team. We've delivered SP1, SP2, ExBPA, and many other great tools along the way - but E12 has always been our primary goal in the 2 years since Exchange 2003 shipped. 

Right from the beginning, our high level goals for E12 were pretty simple:

- Control: A new admin experience, enable low cost storage
Access: A unified communications inbox, accessible all of the ways end-users want it
Protection: Enable compliance, encrypt and clean the message stream

The team will be blogging about various aspects of these 3 themes over the coming months. I am very pleased with our team's progress towards these goals. Many of our customers will see storage costs reduced 80%. Monad changes everything when it comes to systems management. My calendar experience with E12 is something I cannot give up. I am personally addicted to my E12 mobile device experience. I think the speech recognition built into E12 unified messaging is the coolest thing ever. The server is keeping my email usage totally compliant with our company's records management policies. There is so much more...

Our immediate plans are to distribute this release to a group of 1400 customers and partners that have expressed explicit interest in testing this release. Unfortunately, we don't have room to support more right now - but early next year, we plan to distribute the release through MSDN and TechNet subscribers. I hope most of you get an opportunity to try out the release, and give us feedback. We're eager to hear from you. 

Here at Microsoft, we are now running E12 Beta 1 for 3,000 users (including the entire Exchange team, the entire Office team, the MOM team, the SBS team, the Speech technologies team, the Windows Mobile team, and many other lucky folks). I always think it's cool to check out our latest "dogfood" topology (which is intentionally over-complex to test a variety of configurations).

On to Beta 2 mid next year...

Happy Holidays to everyone from the entire Exchange team!

- Terry Myerson