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New Exchange Server 2007, "an oversized SUV"

Rival blasts Microsoft's latest messaging platform as sporting new "bells and whistles" but adding nothing to help administrators

Exchange Server 2007 has been likened to an "oversized SUV" by one of its competitors.

The launch yesterday of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 has bought about mixed reactions and doubts have been cast over the effectiveness of its security measures.

"Exchange 2007 is like the next model year of an oversized SUV," said David Karp, director of product marketing at Ipswitch. "There are some new features, bells and whistles, fancy new rims and an upgraded sound system, but there's nothing new to address the fundamental challenges facing email administrators."

He said there were no improvements in "gas mileage or safety, no automatic parallel parking."

"I'm waiting for Microsoft to significantly clean up administration of the server, to do something interesting about spam, and to come up with a mind-blowing integration of real-time and asynchronous communication," said Karp. "Until then, the next generation of Exchange will probably be the same only more so."

Speaking at the launch yesterday at Arsenal's Emirates stadium, Microsoft UK managing director Gordon Frazer said the company had made "extraordinary investments in R&D, and Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 have been tested more thoroughly than any other software products in history."

Exchange Server 2007 is will be released to organisations with volume license agreements within the next fortnight.

Others were worried that with the launch of Vista a "security monoculture" would develop allowing hackers mount easier attacks on organisations that adopt the new operating system.

"The addition of better security in Vista is a very good thing, as long as it doesn't discourage third party development for that platform," Claire Shaw, UK managing director of security company FutureSoft. "Once Microsoft Vista becomes the standard desktop OS, as it probably will, there is real concern that it may also become the default and only security solution for companies."

She said that this would result in hackers and malware authors having a lot less security tools to deal with. "Monocultures, of all kinds, tend to respond poorly to external attacks, and it may be that Windows Vista serves to extend this problem to the IT security world resulting ultimately in more worse, more pervasive, infections," she said.

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