Microsoft has decided to play about with the numbering of up-coming releases of Exchange in an attempt to win a marketing coup with its ailing messaging product.
The original release number, 4.1, was changed internally to 4.5 about three months ago, but the decision was made to alter this again to 5.0 on 9 December.
Phil Cross, Microsoft?s senior product manager, denied reports that the firm had scrapped 4.5 because of users? complaints that it too proprietary and did not provide enough Internet capabilities.
?The number change is nothing to do with problems in the software. We felt it warranted being a major release because of all the new functionality we?ve included and we?ve added a lot of new support for Internet protocols to make it more open,? he said.
But, by naming the release version 5.0, Microsoft makes the product appear more mature than it is and also more mature than the more established Lotus Notes - Notes is still on version 4.0.
New functionality incorporated into Exchange version 5.0, which will ship in February next year, includes support for POP3 clients rather than just Microsoft-based ones and for the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP). This means Exchange will be able to host Internet discussion groups and filter them into folders to improve management.
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