A red letter day for Exchange and Outlook

Microsoft is hatching plans for a new Exchange Server e-mail system, with improved security, a facelift for Outlook, and better support for cell phones and other handhelds.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is expected to elaborate on the new version of Exchange in a speech to business partners later today at its Fusion conference in Los Angeles.

The new version of Exchange messaging software, which handles e-mail, calendars and contact lists, will be the company's first major update of the product since releasing Exchange 2000 nearly two years ago.

The new version of Exchange, code-named Titanium, will be more secure because the company will, by default, disable certain messaging features to prevent hackers or virus makers from taking advantage of openings, said Jim Bernardo, Microsoft's Exchange product manager. In the current version of Exchange, all messaging features are automatically in use when installed. Now, there are fewer security loopholes because features that customers don't need or use are automatically turned off, he said.

To coincide with the new version of Exchange, Microsoft will make some cosmetic changes to the Outlook e-mail program. Outlook will sport a new look, with Microsoft moving the window that previews the text of an e-mail from the bottom of the screen to the right-hand side, Bernardo said. Another new feature is the ability to group e-mail based on when messages arrived. "It will provide some visual cues and better navigation of what's important and timely in my inbox," he said. "You can group messages from when they came in--today, yesterday, last week, two weeks ago."

In addition, Microsoft plans to spruce up its stripped down Web-based version of the Outlook e-mail program, adding new features to make it as comprehensive as the regular version, he said.

News source: c|net

View: Security's the message for Exchange

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