Exchange 2013 and Outlook 2013 preview versions debut

As part of their Office 2013 preview release, Microsoft has made the preview edition of Exchange 2013 available for you to download.

There are many changes in Exchange 2013 – far too many to describe in a solitary post. Windows IT Pro has a comprehensive review of Exchange 2013 scheduled to appear before Microsoft formally reveals the new version at the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) in Orlando on September 24. MEC is likely to be really interesting as Microsoft explains the concepts behind new features such as “modern public folders'” (some might consider this an oxymoron, but that’s not important right now) as well as why they have elected to reduce server roles to just mailbox servers and Client Access Servers (CAS). Another interesting topic is likely to be the closer connection that Exchange 2013 and SharePoint boast in terms of “site mailboxes”. Documentation is also available, should you feel the need to burn some candles reading up about the new version.

Users of Exchange Online in Office 365 will see the new features after Microsoft deploys the new software into its datacenters. The exact details of when this might happen and what control tenant domain administrators will have over when new features are revealed to users are not yet 100% clear but we expect more detail from Microsoft in the near future.

Of course, a new version of Exchange wouldn’t be complete without a new version of Outlook, so there’s no surprise that we find a preview version of Outlook 2013 is available too (as long as you run PCs with Windows 7 or Windows 8 because Office 2013 doesn't support Vista or XP). Like previous versions of Exchange, you need the latest and greatest version of Outlook to reveal and exploit all the new server features, so this software is definitely something that you need to explore.

I bet that there will be many heated discussions at MEC.In fact, I can’t wait for the event to come around, even if it is in Orlando (apologies to all who live in Florida, but there’s just too many conferences held in Orlando). Final versions of Exchange 2013 and Outlook 2013 (or indeed, the rest of the Office 2013) wasn't announced, but I still suspect that we will see some availability towards the end of 2012 with general availability in early 2013.

Follow Tony @12Knocksinna

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