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Microsoft delays Exchange 2000 release

Customers waiting for a new version of the company's Exchange messaging software, originally expected this summer, will have to wait a little while longer.

Microsoft customers waiting for a new version of the company's Exchange messaging software will have to wait a little while longer.

Microsoft said it has delayed the release of its Exchange 2000 server, originally expected this summer, until fall. The company said the delay will allow it to fine-tune the software before its release.

Microsoft representatives at a developers conference in Orlando, Fla., this week said the company will ship an entire series of server-based software products including Exchange 2000 this fall as part of its new Internet software strategy.

The products--Exchange 2000, SQL Server 2000 database software, BizTalk Server 2000 data interchange software, Commerce Server 2000 Web e-commerce, Application Center 2000, Host Integration Server 2000, Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000--have been grouped under the .Net Enterprise Server marketing brand as part of Microsoft's recently announced Internet software strategy. Each has also been revamped to understand Extensible Markup Language (XML), a data-exchange standard adopted by Microsoft as the technological linchpin of the .Net strategy.

As reported, Exchange 2000 represents Microsoft's push into so-called knowledge management software. It is intended to provide a system for companies to easily view information from various sources--the Web, internal corporate applications and databases--for making business decisions.

Microsoft's nemesis in this market--IBM subsidiary Lotus Development--has already established a presence in this software area.

One new feature in Exchange, called Web Store, culls semi-structured data, such as Web pages, Word document files, and voice and email data, in a new file system tuned for easy searching. The system, called EXIFS, runs on Windows 2000.

Like Office 2000 and other next-generation Microsoft products, Web Store makes extensive use of XML for sharing and categorizing data.

In related news, Microsoft today will announce its plans to sell software, including Exchange, through subscriptions rather than through licenses as it does now; it also will announce how it expects to recruit service providers to its new strategy.

The company is expected to unveil details on how it plans to sell software through application service providers, software service organizations that host Web sites.