Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 hits general availability

Exchange 2010 officially launched at Tech Ed, forming part of Microsoft’s “New Efficiency” strategy.

Stephen Elop

Microsoft has announced the worldwide general availability of its email and unified communication platform Exchange Server 2010.

At a press briefing at its Tech Ed event in Berlin, Germany, Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's business division, said that one of the primary benefits of moving to the new platform was increased productivity, and cost savings which he said were as high as 70 per cent.

Elop said that, according to IT analyst firm Forrester Research, businesses moving to Exchange 2010 has seen a return on investment in six months. "That's simply amazing," he commented.

The combination of costs savings and increased productivity were also a key feature of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, he said, and when combined these formed a new Microsoft strategy that Elop referred to as the New Efficiency'.

"The new efficiency is a balance one must strike in an organisation everyone is focused on cutting costs, but you also need to increase productivity," he said.

Backing up his claims of cost savings, Elop detailed several new features in Exchange 2010. The ability to use low cost, directly attached storage, rather than having to invest in expensive storage area networks (SANs), was of major significance.

"It's not exciting to announce on a billboard to the public, but to this [developer] audience it's huge news - it's a wonderful story to deliver to IT pros and to their customers," he said.

Elop also detailed a number of end user benefits such as access to voicemails from the Outlook inbox, voice-to-text transcription and the ability to send text messages from Outlook. Outlook Anywhere is also said to have been improved.

"Exchange represents a place where all your different types of communication come together. Outlook and Exchange are becoming a unified platform," Elop added.

Also mentioned were message creation tips that warn users when they are about to send an email to thousands of users and the ability to ignore nuisance email threads.

Elop described the current economic climate as "disruptive", but said that despite this he was very happy to with at Microsoft at this juncture. "With Exchange 2010, Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, we're in the biggest wave or product releases that the company has even seen," he said.

"There's so much excitement around that."

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