Microsoft confirms preview plans for Exchange update

Microsoft says it will release a limited test version of Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 at the end of the week.

Microsoft will release a community technical preview of Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 on Friday, a Microsoft technologist said.

Earlier this week, a Microsoft spokesperson said the CTP, which is an unsupported "pre-release evaluation," would be available at the end of August. However, Harold Wong, a senior technology specialist with Microsoft's TechNet team, wrote in his blog that the download for the SP2 build will be available Aug. 19.

The service pack, which improves on mobile access, increases antispam protection and adds some minor mailbox improvements, is due to be released sometime later this year.

Specifically, the mobile enhancements include better data compression and the addition of "direct push" technology, which notifies a device of new calendar and contact information from an Exchange server -- without having to use short message service (SMS) for notification.

The service pack also includes an updated Intelligent Message Filter and support for the Sender ID e-mail authentication protocol. In addition, there are improvements to the controls for public folder management, support for Novell GroupWise 6.x connectors and migration tools and offline address book improvements, Microsoft has said.

Wong said some security features in Exchange SP2 will only be available when used with Outlook 2003 SP2, which is not expected to be available until later this year. Nor will testers be able to try out some of the mobility features in Exchange 2003 SP2 because they will require that devices running Windows Mobile 5.0 have a messaging and security feature pack installed. That feature pack won't be released until later this year or in 2006, Wong wrote.

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