Microsoft has announced the official names of the next release of 3 major products, Exchange, SharePoint and Office. Initially labelled version 14 for all 3 I can sense “the better together” marketing theme that Microsoft have used in the past when it came to releasing the same 3 products in 2007. I will discuss some of the highlights below for each product.
Exchange 2010 now available in beta can actually be downloaded from the Microsoft TechNet Site. Some of the features noted include enhancements to the “anywhere experience” providing enhanced universal inbox experience and an integrated archiving functionality which I will be interested to compare against common 3rd party products that have been in the market for many years such as Symantec’s Enterprise Vault and Quest’s Archive Manager. Other notable mentions include enhancements to the Unified Messaging role that was introduced with Exchange 2007 which includes a new feature called “Voice Mail Preview” which will allow the user to read the contents of an audio recording, just like reading a normal email! Safari and Firefox users will enjoy the same premium Outlook Web Access experience (OWA) that was normally reserved for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer only. This will further extend the OWA experience to more users who are not necessarily running a Windows Operating System or prefer to use alternative browsers. Another biggie for organisations that highly rely on shared calendars is the ability to view those also in OWA, particularly useful when booking meetings and resources. More information can be found at the Exchange 2010 Microsoft Site.
SharePoint 2010 is predicted to be released in beta form in the third quarter of this year and released to manufacturing in the first half of 2010. At the moment there isn’t much insight in what to expect but a number of predictions are being made. We will just have to wait and see until more information is released by the SharePoint Product Team. The Microsoft SharePoint Product Team have just placed a blog post detailing the official details with regards to the official naming of SharePoint 14.
Office 2010 is expected to show subtle external UI differences to Office 2007 with most changes and enhancements done under the hood and with integration with other products notably SharePoint 2010. Office 2010 will also include a suite of web applications a.k.a “Office Web” to compete with existing cloud computing offerings such as Google Apps. We also know that this will be first Office release that will be available in 64 bit. I’d expect the full release to coincide with the release of SharePoint 2010, being from the same family of products.
For me, it’s time to get my hands dirty on Exchange 2010 beta and potentially coexist it with my current Exchange 2007 infrastructure. Details of coexisting with Exchange 2010 can be found on TechNet. I’ll let you know how I go 🙂