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Microsoft delivers Exchange Server 2007 public beta

Microsoft released public trial runs of its next-generation messaging server, Exchange Server 2007, along with its email security package, newly dubbed Forefront Security for Exchange Server.

Unlike some of Microsoft's high-profile, next-generation products famously missing their delivery dates, Exchange Server 2007 appears to be humming along on schedule.

The company released the public beta of Exchange Server 2007 on Monday. General product availability is still scheduled for late 2006 or early 2007, the company said. Exchange Server 2007 will require 64-bit hardware.

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Microsoft also released a beta for Forefront Security for Exchange Server, an antispam, antivirus package formerly known as the Antigen security tools acquired in Microsoft's purchase of Sybari Software Inc. in 2005.

While the new version of Exchange has many new features targeted at IT administrators, some of the features aimed at end users, notably unified messaging, will only be offered to those willing to buy a higher priced license. Customers with Enterprise Agreements and Software Assurance will receive only a Standard Client Access License.

Unified messaging is central to Microsoft's collaboration strategy, which includes the integration of Office 2007 and Vista as well as Exchange Server 2007.

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