RealTime IT News

Exchange 2010 in Beta With Office's Next Moniker

While many in the U.S. may be focusing on getting their taxes in on time, Microsoft is seizing the moment to release the first public beta of Exchange 2010 -- and disclosing in the process that the next release of Office -- will now be officially named Office 2010.

Previously, the next edition of Office had been codenamed "Office 14".

In addition to Exchange, which Microsoft said it expects will hit commercial release by the end of the year, the software behemoth is readying a set of other Office-related products -- although many offerings won't have a similarly aggressive release schedule.

"Office 2010 -- including Office Web applications, SharePoint Server 2010, Visio 2010 and Project 2010 -- will enter a technical preview in the third quarter of 2009 and will release to manufacturing in the first half of 2010," Chris Capossela, senior vice president of Microsoft's information worker product management group, said in a statement. The remainder of Office 2010 is scheduled for a 2010 ship date as well.

Microsoft acknowledged on Tuesday that Office 2010 will come in both 32- and 64-bit editions.

It's a particularly auspicious milestone for Exchange, which will be rolling out with several closely watched enhancements.

The upcoming version of Exchange will be "the first server in a new generation of Microsoft server technology built from the ground up to work on-premises and as an online service," Microsoft said in a separate statement.

Other features coming in Exchange 2010 include personal e-mail archives, unified messaging that lets customers replace their voice mail systems, text previews of voice messages, and a "mail tips" feature that aims to warn users if they're about to, for instance, send a message by mistake to a large distribution list.

"Exchange 2010 also integrates Office Outlook Web Access with Office Communicator Web Access for a unified browser-based client that is now accessible through Safari and Firefox in addition to Internet Explorer ... which means users get the same rich e-mail experience whether using Outlook on the PC, a mobile phone or through their browser," Capossela said.

Microsoft has set up a site for downloads of the beta and to provide additional information on Exchange 2010.