Tidbits Start Leaking Out About Exchange 15

Snips of information have started appearing on the Web about the next release of Microsoft Exchange Server, which currently has a working title of Exchange 15.

An aspect of Exchange 15 that’s expected to change from previous versions of the software is a greater emphasis on collaboration and less on communication. For example, Microsoft will be bringing a “next generation” mailbox experience to the product. That includes the ability to create team mailboxes that can be integrated with the company’s sharing and collaboration offering Sharepoint.

Another intriguing report claims Exchange 15 will give Outlook Web App (OWA), which allows users to view their email via a web browser, offline capabilities. That will be done through HTML5, which is the way Google gave its web apps offline capabilities. However, Microsoft’s HTML5 offline feature may only be available in the latest version of its web browser, Internet Explorer 10.

Redmond may also be considering using HTML5 and JavaScript to create extensions that would allow web apps to be run inside OWA messages, allowing you to do something like view a YouTube video inside an email. Those extensions, called Agaves, are already being developed by software writers for Office 15, the next version of Microsoft’s productivity suite.

The extension idea, though, sounds like a can of worms for email. JavaScript already creates all kinds of security problems for websites. Imagine what hacker shenanigans could be perpetrated if JavaScript could be executed within email messages.

While the next version of Exchange is being referred to as Exchange 15, it’s not expected to be called that when it’s officially released. According to Paul Cunningham, publisher of ExchangeServerPro.com, the stars are aligned for the version of the email server software to be called Microsoft Exchange 2013.

“Previous versions of Exchange Server (2007 and 2010) have been named for the fiscal year in which they were released, not the calendar year,” he explained. “So this time frame does give a strong indicator that Exchange Server 2013 will be the final name. The ‘historical release cadence’ of three years also supports that theory (2007 -> 2010 -> 2013).”

Indeed, some segments of the Exchange community, namely training outfits, have already started referring to the next version of the software by 2013 rather than 15.

As little as is known publicly about Exchange 15 or 2013 now, that hasn’t stopped the training industry from launching its education efforts for when the software is finally released.

Countrywide Training, for example, has begun promoting its onsite training for groups of six or more in Exchange 2013 subjects such as installation and management, security, database and mailbox recovery, troubleshooting and messaging design.

Countrywide will also be offering “boot camps” on Exchange 13, which it describes as “intense, accelerated training courses” aimed at training employees to take the certification exam for Exchange 2013 in days, rather than weeks or months.

Another training company, CBT Planet, has begun promoting a line of self-study videos on Exchange 2013 that can be delivered online or on DVD.

“Although professionals from a number of different disciplines will find the wide-ranging content of Exchange 2013 training videos extremely useful, the primary target is technicians, administrators and managers responsible for specifying, installing and day-to-day operation in enterprise environments,” the company noted.

Written by John P Mello Jr

John Mello is a freelance writer who has written about business and technical subjects for more than 25 years. He is frequent contributor to the ECT News Network and his work has appeared in a number of periodicals, including Byte magazine, PC World, Computerworld, CIO magazine and the Boston Globe


  1. Tim Broward · April 25, 2012

    Team mailboxes? Running videos and other application content inside of emails? It sounds like security was on the bottom part of Microsoft’s priority list for this release. But maybe Windows 8’s beefed up security is supposed to handle these threats. It’s too early to say, but I’m not seeing anything here that isn’t already handled with a couple extra clicks. When it feels like your plan is just to remove a click here and there, it makes me wonder if a new release is necessary.

  2. Francis Dane · April 29, 2012

    The purported collaboration features of “Exchange 15″ seem useful. But it remains to be seen how it effectively it could contribute to productivity.

    Just like with any other tool, its value would depend on how it could contribute to the company’s bottomline. The security issue is also a concern. How do you think this will this be addressed?

    It would be interesting to note, how easy adapting to it would be. But if one can get certified in a matter of days, then it seems to be “friendly” and doesn’t seem to be quite a pain.

    It remains to be seen. So, when is the expected release?

  3. John P Mello Jr · April 30, 2012

    How Microsoft addresses the security issues created by the new features ought to be interesting. My inclination is to reduce the attack surface for hackers, not increase it, which is what some of these new features would do.

    Exchange 15 is expected to be introduced at the MEC conference in September.

  4. Ryan · May 1, 2012

    @Tim Broward, Francis Dane: collaboration features like team mailboxes are sorely missing from Exchange today, and the linkage between SharePoint and Exchange is MIA. The best option today is Public Folders, and not only are PFs feebly supported, they aren’t very functional. I don’t see how a team mailbox feature represents any unique new security issue.

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