On Tuesday, Microsoft announced a new extension to its Exchange 2000 Server product family that brings the power of its messaging and collaboration solutions to consumers. Inventively dubbed Exchange Consumer Services, the new program includes commercial licensing optimized for consumers and small businesses, extensions to Exchange's provisioning services, and migration kits for Microsoft Commercial Internet System (MCIS). Microsoft hopes that ISPs will use the program to integrate Exchange 2000 into their infrastructures.

"With Exchange 2000 consumer services, Microsoft demonstrates its ongoing commitment to the carrier and ISP industry by providing a highly functional platform," said Thomas Koll, the vice president of the Network Solutions Group at Microsoft. "Today, with Exchange 2000 consumer services, small businesses and consumers can benefit from basic email to value add functionalities like calendaring, instant messaging and unified messaging."

Previously, Microsoft offered its MCIS suite to ISPs, which offered email, news, chat, commerce, and personal Web page hosting features. But with the maturation of Exchange, the company is effectively ending the MCIS product, while offering customers a clear upgrade path. Microsoft partners such as Hewlett-Packard and Compaq are also helping customers perform MCIS migrations. "We are ready today to help MCIS customers in their migration to Exchange 2000," said HP's David Stubbs. "HP provides an array of services including migration assessment, planning and implementation to help customers make a smooth transition to Exchange 2000.