Customer Feedback Reveals Outlook Web Access Is a Must-Have Feature Driving Upgrades to Exchange 2000

REDMOND, Wash., June 28, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. has always believed that enterprise customers want messaging solutions for a broad spectrum of users: the rich Outlook® messaging and collaboration client for laptop and desktop users and Outlook Web Access (OWA) for roving users. Now customer feedback confirms the importance of browser mail access. In a recent independent survey by Exchange & Outlook magazine, 48 percent of respondents cited OWA as one of the main factors driving their decision to upgrade to Microsoft® Exchange 2000. Exchange 2000’s administrative flexibility matched OWA as a critical driver behind upgrades, also garnering 48 percent of responses.

OWA enables users to access their Exchange Server e-mail, calendar, contacts and collaborative information from any Internet-connected PC, whether from home, airport kiosk or hotel. Exchange 2000’s OWA client delivers improved performance, scalability and ease of use over Exchange 5.5. Improvements include the following:

  • A look more like the full Outlook client, with drag-and-drop capability, pop-up menus, toolbars, true hierarchy control and rich-text editing

  • A richer, more responsive client experience through the use of XML and Dynamic HTML

  • Improved calendaring functionality, including delegate access

  • Support for multimedia messages, including voice-mail attachments from a unified messaging solution

  • Automatic name resolution against Outlook contacts and the Exchange address book

  • Access to tools such as Out of Office Assistant

Microsoft believes it has a strong lead over competitors in the areas of performance, scalability and total cost of ownership for browser mail clients. For example, unlike OWA, Lotus iNotes Web Access scalability and performance may not meet the requirements of most enterprise customers. The reasons for Microsoft’s strong lead include the following:

  • Domino Offline Services (DOLS), the client components that provide optional offline support for iNotes, communicates with Domino Servers using proprietary rather than Internet protocols, and require the download, installation and background execution of Domino and HTTP server components on the browser client machine. This turns iNotes into a much
    harder-to-use client than OWA, making its use for roaming users very impractical.

  • Lacking support for front-end and back-end server architecture, iNotes users have to specifically identify their mailbox server, impacting server performance and adding administrative overhead, while OWA users need only type in a simple URL. This architecture also supports much higher scalability by balancing the load of incoming client requests across front-end protocol servers that in turn retrieve Exchange information from the user’s back-end mailbox server.

  • According to Lotus benchmarks, Lotus iNotes Web Access clients typically use three to five times as many server resources as Notes clients, requiring a corresponding increase in the number of Domino mail servers for iNotes HTTP client access. By comparison, each OWA client uses only an additional one-third the amount of server resources as an Outlook client, reducing the need for additional Exchange mailbox servers.

Exchange 2000 Server is the easy-to-manage messaging and collaboration platform that provides e-mail, calendaring, instant messaging, conferencing and services for custom collaborative applications that bring people and information together. Exchange 2000 delivers enhanced reliability, scalability, manageability and performance with a lower total cost of ownership.

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