As Microsoft moves closer to the release of Exchange 2007, its e-mail, calendaring and messaging product, it faces increased competitive pressure from long-standing competitors like Lotus Notes as well as from newer open source solutions.
Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., released the second, widespread public beta for Exchange 2007 on July 24, with the product expected to ship in late 2006 or early 2007.
The second beta brings with it a host of new and improved functionality, and is feature complete.
Microsoft executives are also upbeat that they can grow their position in this highly competitive market.
Dave Thompson, the corporate vice president for the Exchange Server product group, told eWEEK that when he talked to CIOs about the alternatives, the competitor that most often came up was Lotus Notes.
While Novell's GroupWise is still used by some companies, it is being rapidly replaced with Exchange, he said, adding that open-source solutions are mentioned competitively only very occasionally.
"In fact I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times this has come up in the past two years," he said.
The Exchange team spent a lot of time and resources building a product designed for enterprises and with features like designated calendar scheduling, mobile access, compliance and anti-virus, which "requires a lot of work, and open-source platforms haven't become that sophisticated," he said.
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