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MS Exchange due this month

Microsoft says it is on target to ship its Exchange messaging server by the end of this month, almost two years after it was originally announced.

Microsoft says it is on target to ship its Exchange messaging server by the end of this month, almost two years after it was originally announced.

Exchange Server will be in retail distribution channels by the end of March, a company spokesperson confirmed today. Exchange was originally envisioned as both a server for its Microsoft Mail and a Lotus Notes-killer that would break Lotus's monopoly on the corporate groupware market. But after several delays, the company was forced to scale back the groupware features and recast Exchange as a messaging server only.

The Exchange email client is already shipping with Windows 95.

Analysts describe the Exchange delivery delays as a classic example of overly ambitious product plans.

"It's another case where the product features list kept going up faster than the developer organization could build them into the product," said Rob Enderle, senior industry analyst at Giga Information Group in Santa Clara, California. "They had themselves chasing a moving target."

Still, waiting to evaluate Exchange kept many corporate IS managers from committing to Notes. And now Notes itself is feeling the heat generated by "moving target" competition--namely, the Internet. Lotus officials said last week that they were disappointed by AT&T's decision to kill its Network Notes project in favor of expanding its Internet presence.