Drowning In E-Mail? Exchange 2010 Promises Remedies

Server e-mail

In a response to the growing competition from Internet e-mail systems like Google's G-mail, the upgraded Exchange also will be capable of operating entirely as an online service.

The Exchange Server 2010 test version can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/2010. Microsoft expects as many as 1 million people to download the beta software.

So far Exchange Server 2010 remains on track for full release by the end of this year. Microsoft is expected to begin upgrading the hosted version of Exchange, Exchange Online, at the same time the new on-premise version ships.

Preview releases of other Office 2010 applications, including SharePoint Server, Visio and Project, are slated to be available in the third quarter. Final releases of those products are not expected until sometime in the first six months of next year.

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And, in an announcement that will surprise no one, Microsoft has confirmed that the next Office release will be called "Microsoft Office 2010," dropping the "Office 14" moniker the company has used until now when referring to the new product.

Exchange Server 2010 will let users view e-mail in threads, as they can with Google's G-mail, and opt out of conversations they have no interest in by using a mute button to avoid the dreaded runaway "reply all" e-mails. For the IT management side, Exchange Server 2010 will offer integrated e-mail archiving, including storing personal folders on a server rather than desktops, and multimailbox search capabilities. And the system will be able to transcribe voice mails into text messages.

New "MailTips" functions will warn users when they are about to send an e-mail to a large distribution group or to people outside an organization—even alert a send when an intended recipient has an out-of-office notification.