Exchange 2003: More Features, Same Price

Jun 26, 2003 (03:06 PM EDT)

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The good news for Microsoft Exchange customers is that the new release of the market-leading E-mail server, due later this summer, won't cost them any more than previous versions.

Microsoft shared pricing and licensing options for Exchange Server 2003 for the first time Thursday, and it opted to keep pricing consistent from Exchange 2000. The standard edition of the server, recommended for small and midsize businesses with no more than 5,000 users, will be priced at $699, while a more-scalable enterprise edition is priced at $3,999. But a Microsoft official says new capabilities in Exchange will make it feel like more of a bargain. "Even though the price is flat, customers are getting a lot more value," says Missy Stern, Exchange product manager.

For instance, customers no longer will have to purchase separate servers to support mobile users. Instead, mobility is "baked into" the new Exchange, Stern says. The new configuration also makes it possible to achieve significant server-consolidation savings, eases migration issues for customers moving from Exchange 2000 or 5.5, simplifies the replication process for remote users, and offers users an improved version of Outlook Web Access, she says.

Microsoft also has changed its licensing options by offering several alternatives that cater to the variety of ways customers use E-mail. User client-access licenses, which let users access E-mail from multiple devices, and device-specific licenses, which can be used to let groups of employees, such as factory workers, access E-mail via a shared device, will start at $67 for volume purchases. An External Connector License, designed to let customers extend E-mail to nonemployees, such as a university that wants to provide E-mail to its alumni, starts at $50,000.