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Microsoft took the covers off the first pieces of the next version of its e-mail software on Wednesday, releasing test versions of Exchange Server 2010 and Outlook Web Access.
The company plans to release Exchange Server 2010 in the second half of this year. The rest of Office is due in the first half of 2010, with limited test releases beginning the third quarter of this year. Outlook 2010 will come as part of the rest of the Office suite, though it's unclear when the next version of Outlook Mobile will be available.
Exchange 2010 will power a number of new features, including the ability to view e-mail conversations in threaded form a la Gmail, and a button to ignore e-mail threads. Exchange 2007 introduced some unified messaging features, and Exchange 2010 will build on that with speech-to-text transcription of voice mails as well as customized voice-mail menus.