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MS Exchange Beta Released, New Office Coming 2010

April 15, 2009

Microsoft is preparing to release the next version of its Office software during the first half of next year, and the company is gearing up to launch a public beta test version of Exchange Server 2010 on Wednesday.

The upcoming version of Microsoft Office software was expected by some to be released this year, but Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told analysts in February that would not be the case.

Instead, Microsoft has announced that Office 2010 will be completed and ready to send to manufacturers during the first half of next year. After that, the time required for consumers to actually get their hands on the software could last from six weeks to four months or more, Chris Capossela, a senior vice president in the Microsoft group that makes Office, told the Associated Press.

That timetable suggests that the new version of Office will not be available in time for the public debut of Windows 7 in January 2010.

The new Office will feature “slimmed-down versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that let people create and edit documents in a Web browser,” according to the AP. Additionally, an ad-supported version of the software will be made available freely to consumers.

Capossela said Microsoft intends to release a technical preview of the new Office to hundreds of thousands of people during the third quarter of this year.

Also, the software giant announced the release of its public beta test version of Exchange Server 2010 on Wednesday.

Exchange is being marketed as “the cornerstone of Microsoft’s unified communications solution.”

“Exchange 2010 ushers in the next generation of Microsoft unified communications software as the first server designed from inception to work both on-premises and as an online service,” said Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president of Exchange at Microsoft.

“This release raises the bar with new archiving and end-user innovations that will help companies save money and employees save time.”

Exchange Server 2010 will be available in the second half of 2009.

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