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July 16, 2002—In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Microsoft to Release Freestyle As XP Media Center Edition
- Microsoft to Ship New Exchange, Outlook in Mid-2003
- Real-World Tips and Solutions Here For You
- Do You Like the Kind of Content You're Finding in This Newsletter?
3. CONTACT US
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1. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, email@example.com)
Microsoft announced today that its upcoming digital-media interface, code-named Freestyle, will ship later this year as a new Windows XP version called Windows XP Media Center Edition (XP MCE). Microsoft designed XP MCE for a new generation of Media Center PCs that digital-media enthusiasts, teenagers, college students, and families will use as centers for home entertainment. Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Samsung will ship Media Center PCs in late 2002, and NEC will launch a Japanese model in early 2003.
"The PC has evolved from a tool for productivity to a device capable of entertainment, communications, and so much more," said Michael Toutonghi, vice president of Microsoft's Windows eHome Division. "Consumers desire more fun and enjoyment from their PC and want it to contribute to their lives even more creatively than it does today. The time is right for Windows XP Media Center Edition; it maps to our vision of realizing potential with technology in ways people may not have thought possible."
XP MCE is a superset of Windows XP Professional Edition that includes a new Media Center application that lets users watch TV and digitally record TV shows, listen to music, view and organize photos, watch digital videos, and watch DVD movies. In a briefing last week, Toutonghi told me that XP MCE won't be available separately from Media Center PCs because end users wouldn't get a good, seamless experience on a typical PC. "We're doing a lot of work pushing what graphics cards can do," Toutonghi said. "The MCE interface renders at 60 frames per second (FPS) with adaptive interlaced video. It's really high quality and much more immersive and exciting \[than the Freestyle demos that were available previously\]. We're really pushing the hardware to the limit." Toutonghi also noted that Media Center PCs will ship with an integrated infrared (IR) interface, a special remote control with a Start button, and a TV interface card.
For more information about XP MCE, visit the SuperSite for Windows.
In mid-2003, Microsoft will ship a new Exchange Server version, code-named Titanium, and a new Microsoft Outlook client that will also ship as part of Microsoft Office 11. Titanium, which Microsoft will market as Exchange 2003, addresses customers' three most pressing needs, the company says, including improving inbox management, better wireless support, and increased scalability. Controversially, however, Exchange 2003 won't include the Microsoft SQL Server-based data store the company promised for this release but will instead use the data store current Exchange versions use.
"Titanium is an incremental upgrade to Exchange 2000," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said during his keynote address at Fusion 2002 this week. He compared the product to the upgrade from Exchange 5.0 to 5.5.
Malcolm Pearson, general manager of Microsoft's Exchange Server Business Unit, said that Microsoft will deliver the SQL Server data store in a future Exchange release, code-named Kodiak. The reason for the delay, he said, is that the new SQL Server version, code-named Yukon, won't be ready in time for Exchange 2003. "Titanium is being built on the same code base as Exchange 2000 and therefore will use the same storage engine that is currently in Exchange 2000," Pearson said. "Titanium will be a smooth upgrade for our customers. We are continuing to make long-term investments to develop our next-generation messaging platform, called Kodiak, around Microsoft's vision for unified data that will first appear in Yukon ... It will be several years before this technology is ready to be a mainstream upgrade for our current customers. And I think it's really important that our Exchange customers know that, with future versions of Exchange, we are not going to require email administrators to become database administrators."
At a Windows .NET Server (Win .NET Server) reviewer's workshop in late June, Barry Goffe, the group manager for Microsoft's Enterprise Marketing Strategy, told me that Win.NET Server's release made Exchange 2003 necessary. "Exchange 2000 will not run on Win.NET Server," he said. "Win.NET Server will require Exchange 2003, which takes advantage of the many changes we made in Win.NET Server to Active Directory (AD)." Goffe said that Exchange 2003 will also include a new Outlook Web Access (OWA) version, which has been popular with Exchange users, and features better performance. An Exchange 2003 beta will be available by the end of the year, he said.
Regarding Outlook 11, the next version of Microsoft Outlook, the company demonstrated the product's new three-pane UI this week. Outlook 11 includes a folders pane for organizing Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and other Outlook components; a current folder pane for displaying the contents of the currently selected folder (such as Inbox); and a preview pane, for displaying the currently selected email message or other item. The panes are all vertically oriented in columns, giving the client a new look. Furthermore, Microsoft has confirmed that the "Office NGO" (Next Generation Office) UI is indeed planned for Office 11. For more information about this UI, visit the SuperSite for Windows.
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