Microsoft shuffles deck on Exchange

by Volker Weber

Two years ago, Microsoft stuffed a number of collaboration features in Exchange Server with great fanfare. Last week, the company started to tell network executives why it now plans to pluck them out.

At its annual Microsoft Exchange Conference, company executives delivered a clear message that real-time collaboration, most notably instant messaging and conferencing, belongs in the base operating system and not Exchange.

Perhaps the biggest development at the conference was the first real details of a project code-named Greenwich, which will bring instant messaging, presence and conferencing to Windows .Net Server 2003, which is expected to ship early next year. Greenwich is slated to ship sometime before October 2003.

Greenwich is inheriting services that have been cut from the next version of Exchange, code-named Titanium, confirming that Exchange Server is on an evolutionary path away from providing a foundation for real-time collaboration and application development.

That's much different than two years ago. Instant messaging and conferencing features, along with the Web Storage System data store and Local Web Storage System to support offline use of applications, were the highlights of the Exchange 2000 platform Microsoft touted for its maturity as a collaboration and application development platform.

Today, all that technology is being moved out of Exchange or killed and replaced with other technology ...

"Instant messaging and conferencing were our big selling points for Exchange 2000 and now they are taking them out. That bothers me," says Francis Blay, Exchange administrator for RWD Technologies of Columbia, Md.

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