"Exchange 2010 ushers in the next generation of Microsoft unified communications software as the first server designed from inception to work both on-premises and as an online service," said Rajesh Jha, corporate vice president of Exchange at Microsoft.
"This release raises the bar with new archiving and end-user innovations that will help companies save money and employees save time."
Exchange 2010 is also designed to work more efficiently with network attached storage (NAS) and includes email archiving to meet compliance requirements.
Ordinary users haven't been forgotten.
New, user-oriented features include:
text previews of voicemail messages;
a 'mute button' to suppress message threads that are of no further interest;
a conversation view that reduces inbox clutter by combining related messages;
customisable call-routing menus; and
"Exchange 2010 will become available in the second half of 2009," said Oscar Trimboli, director of the information worker business group at Microsoft Australia.
The rest of the next wave of Office-related products is further away.
"Microsoft Office 2010 and related products will enter technical preview in the third quarter of 2009 and become available in the first half of 2010," said Trimboli.
There have been some reports that there will not be a public beta of Office 2010, but a Microsoft official has confirmed that a public beta will follow the invitation-only technical preview.
What we don't yet know is whether there will be a distribution charge for the beta as occurred after users downloaded more than three million copies of Office 2007 beta 2.