WinInfo Daily Update, July 24, 2006: Microsoft Plays a Different Zune, Admits to iPod Killer

- Microsoft Plays a Different Zune, Admits to iPod Killer
- Microsoft Ships Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2


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- Microsoft Plays a Different Zune, Admits to iPod Killer
- Microsoft Ships Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Plays a Different Zune, Admits to iPod Killer

Late last week, Microsoft finally admitted that it is, indeed, working on a so-called iPod killer, code-named Zune, which the company will bring to market in time for the holiday season. The Zune MP3 player will be accompanied by a new online music service that Zune users can access wirelessly via the player's Wi-Fi connection.

"The idea is you can access your entertainment from anywhere," Chris Stephenson, Microsoft's general manager of marketing for the MSN Entertainment Business, told "Billboard" magazine last week. Stephenson said that Microsoft will launch Zune with a campaign that will rival the $500 million that Microsoft spent launching Xbox 360 last year.

Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division is developing Zune, and Xbox alums Robbie Bach and J Allard are driving it. Microsoft will deliver Zune separately from the Windows Digital Media team, and Zune won't interoperate with the company's PlaysForSure initiative. Instead, Microsoft is developing Zune as a completely autonomous solution that won't rely on partners, unlike Microsoft's previous Windows and digital media products and initiatives.

Though the first Zune products the company will release are a portable MP3 player and accompanying music service, Microsoft says that Zune is much more than that. The company is developing an entire family of entertainment-based hardware and software products under the Zune code name, and it will release other Zune products in 2007. Microsoft is reportedly working on a portable video game machine modeled after the Xbox as well. It's unclear at this time whether that device is part of the Zune initiative.

Microsoft Ships Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2

On Monday, Microsoft announced the immediate availability of Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2, the latest prerelease version of the company's upcoming email and messaging server. Exchange 2007 Beta 2, and a companion security product, Forefront Security for Exchange Server Beta (previously Antigen for Exchange Server), are both available for public download.

"Today we enter the home stretch of delivering an unparalleled messaging solution, providing our customers with a cost-effective way to meet their most challenging messaging needs including compliance management and protection against constantly evolving security threats," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Dave Thompson. "In conjunction with Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange will provide our customers with the advanced anti-virus and anti-spam protection needed in today’s world."

Exchange 2007, previously code-named Exchange 12, adds several new features in Beta 2 and is far closer to what customers can expect from the final product, which is still due in late 2006 or early 2007. Beta 2 includes better support for mobile users, better email searching capabilities, Anywhere Access technologies for connecting to Exchange via phone, and much more. I'll be posting a review of Exchange 2007 Beta 2 this week at the SuperSite for Windows.

Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2

Forefront Security for Exchange Server Beta

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