Thanks for all of the great comments and e-mails over the last few days - it is hard to know where to start in answering all of the questions. But, since this one often gets asked by 1 or more people ....
"Why don't you put Exchange in Windows Home Server?"
There are a lot of reasons why the first version of Windows Home Server will not provide any e-mail functionality for a family:
We strive to make the right decisions based on our customer research. And we will continue to do research to see if over time consumers do really want to host their own e-mail infrastructure...
Hi all...Joel Sider here. I manage PR (Public Relations) for Home Server. It's great to see the blog getting going with visitors and comments.
One of the most exciting things about "unveiling" Home Server at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) last month was the response that began pouring in from potential customers. The team had done the market research, surveys and focus groups that Todd talks about below...but now we're really beginning to hear from our market! For example, today I received an email from someone who wrote:
I am very interested in this product. I am currently juggling 5 PC’s here at our house. One is away at college but DAD is responsible if anything goes wrong. This is a product I can use. When where, how?
By the way, if you're looking for a good walk through of Home Server, I suggest viewing the video at On10. It's a good virtual demo. Also, Paul Thurrott's preview/review provides some more meat about the product, too.
When we set out to prove a business case for building Windows Home Server we scoured all of the existing secondary research data and decided to focus on households with a broadband connection with 2 or more "active" PCs that are sharing the internet connection. Back during the initial planning stages for the product in mid-2005, we discovered that there are over 15 million of these households in the USA, and over 40 million worldwide. The numbers have continued to grow since that time.
We have done a lot of research on these homes over the last 2 years to uncover additional data, and also see if they were ready for a "home server" product. Here are a few of the things we have learned:
We did several primary research studies and had familes and home-based businesses rank a set of scenarios for functionality that could be included in a potential home server product. We have used this data extensively in our decision making processes to build a product to help consumers in multi-PC households. We learned early on that "automation" is key and that we should not ask any unanswerable questions. We also learned that acronyms can mean a lot of different things to different people and it is always better to use simple words and phrases to avoid confusion. Does PC mean "personal computer" or "politically correct" ??
Our goal is to build a product that "enthusiasts" will love, but that is also easy-to-use and approachable for the "enthused followers". As we know from the research that only a little over 1/3 of those broadband connected households with 2 or more PCs actually has an "enthusiast" that lives there.