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You may have seen my exciting Twitter announcements about this a couple of weeks ago - Exchange 2010 beta is available to download now! This is the first of our 2010 Office products to be released as beta, and marks a very exciting time for Microsoft, as we move even further towards a software plus services strategy (on premise and online services working together to provide the best possible experience for the end user).

 

Exchange 2010 offers a very compelling list of features, designed to help companies reduce cost and protect communications. Some of the key innovations are:

 

Lower costs with more flexible deployment and management options. Exchange 2010 provides organizations with the same enterprise-grade capabilities whether deployed on-premises or as a service from Microsoft or partners — or as a mix of both. Further, for customers deploying the server, the new release simplifies the way organizations provide always-on communications and disaster recovery, meaning administrators spend less time managing their e-mail system. Exchange 2010 further improves performance running on lower-cost direct-attached storage, enabling organizations to dramatically reduce storage costs by up to 85 percent without sacrificing performance or reliability.

 

Protect information and meet compliance requirements with the new e-mail archive. As e-mail volume grows, companies must address increasing compliance, legal and e-discovery concerns, but today, according to Osterman Research, only 28 percent of organizations currently archive their e-mail content (Osterman Research, 2008). Exchange 2010 introduces an integrated e-mail archive. The new solution makes it easier to store and query e-mail across the organization using the Exchange software that organizations already know and use.

 

Improve user productivity with the ultimate inbox experience. Basex Inc. recently estimated that the average number of corporate e-mail messages received per person per day is expected to reach more than 93 by 2010. In addition, businesses lose $650 billion annually in productivity due to unnecessary interruptions including those from e-mail (Basex, 2008). Exchange 2010, together with Microsoft Outlook 2010, will give people more control over their communications with features such as these:

-MailTips. Warn users before they commit an e-mail faux pas such as sending mail to large distribution groups, to recipients who are out of the office or to recipients outside the organization, helping protect against information leaks and reduce unnecessary e-mail messages.

-Voice Mail Preview. See text previews of voice mail directly in Outlook.

-Ignore Conversation. This e-mail “mute button” allows people to remove themselves from an irrelevant e-mail string, reducing unwanted e-mail and runaway reply-all threads.

-Conversation View. Combine related e-mail messages in a single conversation to reduce inbox clutter.

-Call Answering Rules. Create customized “Press 1 for …” call-routing menus with Exchange voice mail.

-Consistent Experience. Use Outlook on the PC, a mobile phone or a browser for the same experience with enhancements in Outlook Mobile and Outlook Web Access.

More information about Exchange 2010 can be found on the PressPass announcement or on the Exchange website.