Microsoft to unveil test version of new e-mail server

SEATTLE Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:49pm EDT

Trial versions of Microsoft software are shown in a file image. REUTERS/Siggi Bucher

Trial versions of Microsoft software are shown in a file image.

Credit: Reuters/Siggi Bucher

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SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said it will launch a test version of its Exchange Server on Wednesday, marking the latest development in the technology used by 65 percent of businesses worldwide to run their e-mail systems.

The public beta test version of Exchange Server 2010, as the product is called, is the first of a wave of upgrades to Microsoft programs as the software giant gears up for the next release of its highly successful and profitable Office suite of applications.

Microsoft, which is gradually moving toward Internet distribution for some of its products to counter threats from Google Inc and other new competitors, said the latest Exchange Server can work entirely as an online service, which may attract customers looking to save money on hardware and support for their e-mail and messaging systems.

For users, the new Exchange Server offers a few innovations, including the ability to "mute" streams of e-mail, or opt out of conversations of limited interest to the recipient.

The new system also offers a range of tips to avoid embarrassment or wasting time, by warning users before they send mail to large distribution groups, to out-of-office recipients or to people outside the organization, which Microsoft hopes will protect against information leaks and reduce unnecessary e-mail messages.

It also has a function to transcribe voice messages sent to the computer.

The full public roll-out of Exchange Server 2010 is scheduled for the second half of 2009 while Microsoft's Office 2010 is expected to be available in the first half of 2010.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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