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Wednesday was a big day for us, and I'm pleased to tell you that the response to Exchange 2010 has been awesome! In the last two days, more than 10,000 people have downloaded the beta. Along and with the 2,000+ educational institutions and 5 million people already testing Exchange 2010 as a service, we are well on our way to delivering the most tested, most solid version of Exchange ever.If you haven't had time to download the beta, stop, drop and download. If you don't have time just now, do the next best thing and check out these reviews:Microsoft Exchange 2010 Beta Looks Solid from Core to Cloud - eWeekFirst look: Exchange 2010 beta shines - InfoWorldA First Look at Exchange 2010 - Windows IT Pro
I have also seen a lot of interest and questions around Office 2010 and the next milestones for Exchange, so I wanted to jump on here and answer a couple of the burning questions right away.OWA sounds great. What about Outlook 2010?As you heard on Wednesday, we are focused on delivering a powerful experience across the PC, phone, and browser. We know everyone lives in Outlook, and that's where you will see tons of improvements like:
The Ribbon and Quick Steps: In Office 2007, the ribbon made commands much more discoverable - now it's time to bring that same efficiency to Outlook. My favorite part of the ribbon in Outlook is a new feature called Quick Steps. You can set up one-click Quick Steps for the most common email tasks you do every day. For example, my favorite Quick Step helps me see all mail addressed directly to me first - a quick and simple way to manage my e-mail.
Speed - It's just faster. Even with multi-gig mailboxes, Outlook starts up on a dime. Plus, not only is search blazing fast, but you can find what you want again and again with a single click using some of the new tools in the ribbon.
Security: Of course, you rely on Outlook for IRM, and we've added in multiple layers of security for attachments as well.
Calendaring & Scheduling: Organizing meetings with a bunch of busy people can be like solving a Rubik's cube. In Outlook 2010, you get a "solve" button (figuratively) that can reduce tasks - like scheduling team meetings or replying to emails with a meeting request - to one click.
Extensibility: Have those add-ins that you just can't live without? Outlook will not only continue to support a wide variety of your favorite add-ins, but we've redesigned the experience to ensure that no matter how many add-ins you use - starting up, shutting down, and getting things done in Outlook will be faster than ever.
The place to get the real scoop on Outlook is over at the Outlook blog http://blogs.msdn.com/outlook/default.aspx.I want to get my hands on Outlook 2010. Will there be a public beta?Yes, there will be a public beta. In the third quarter of this year, there is a technical preview in the works. A 'technical preview' is marketing-speak for limited beta, so a few tens of thousands of people will be able to get Office 2010 at that time. A technical preview is used to get input in the early development stages, and for those of you attending TechEd, you'll hear even more about this. After that, there will be a public beta, when everyone and their dog can try Office 2010. Then, with all that awesome feedback, we'll ship Office 2010 in the first half of next year.How much will Exchange 2010 cost?We haven't announced that yet, but stay tuned for more details in the next several weeks.Why are you calling it Exchange 2010 if you're shipping it in 2009?It's all about the 'wave'. Exchange is a critical part of the 'wave 14' of innovations, which includes Office, SharePoint and other Microsoft business productivity software. While Exchange is first out of the gate, we are building these products with a common vision for the new world of business and the capabilities organizations need to succeed today and in the future. Plus, saying "twenty ten" sounds way more cool.Thanks for your help in making Exchange great, and keep your questions coming.CrystalExchange Program Manager