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New Microsoft Exchange due out in 2006

The software, currently called Exchange Server 12, will incorporate new features to handle voice mail and faxes.

SAN FRANCISCO--The next version of Microsoft's Exchange Server--software used to manage e-mail, contact lists and calendars--will arrive in 2006, according to a company executive.

Andy Lees, corporate vice president of marketing for Microsoft's server and tools business, revealed the ship date Tuesday. Previously, the Redmond, Wash.-based software company had said the software would arrive in 2006 or 2007. The software, currently called Exchange Server 12, will incorporate new features to handle voice mail and faxes.

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At Intel event, exec
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The current version of Exchange Server was released in 2003. It's a dominant program in the market, but it faces competition from products sold by IBM, Novell, Sun Microsystems and others.

Lees spoke at an event here to announce Intel's latest high-end Xeon processors, models that incorporate new 64-bit features to easily accommodate more memory and which next year will be replaced by models with dual-processing engines, or cores.

Exchange Server 12 will support both the 64-bit extensions and the dual-core technology, according to Lees' presentation.

Other server software coming in 2006 and supporting the new processor features will be Commerce Server 2006, Host Integration Server 2006, BizTalk Server 2006 and a new of version 2 of Virtual Server. Microsoft Operations Manager also will support the new processor features in 2006.

Windows itself, along with Visual Studio 2005 programming tools and the SQL Server 2005 database, will support the new processor features this year, Lees said.

The dual-core processors will provide Microsoft with a pricing advantage when it comes to pitting SQL Server against Oracle's dominant database, Lees said. Oracle sets prices on the basis of how many processor cores a computer has, meaning that the price doubles when a customer upgrades to dual-core chips. Microsoft prices are based on processor sockets and therefore won't change when dual-core chips arrive.