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We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the release of Exchange Server 2013. This is traditionally the time when people start asking questions like:

When is Service Pack 1 coming?
What’s the timeline for the next Exchange Server release?
What are you cooking up for the next version of Exchange?

This time around, we’re also hearing a few customers ask:

Will there be another version of Exchange Server?

We hope the answer to that question is obvious, but we wanted to go on record to make sure no one is confused. Here are the facts:

  • The Exchange engineering team is hard at work developing the next version of Exchange.
  • We expect the next on-premises version to be released according to our traditional release cadence (2-3 years after the previous version).
  • Microsoft has no plans to stop delivering on-premises releases of Exchange.

It’s true that customers are shifting their Exchange deployments from on-premises to the cloud, and it’s true that we are investing heavily in Office 365. We’re fans of Office 365 because we’ve seen that when customers run email in our cloud, they save money, they get larger mailboxes, and they get faster access to our latest innovations. IT admins spend less time maintaining servers and more time lighting up features that make users happy. Running Office 365 also brings us real-world experience that helps us build a better on-premises product.

While we are enthusiastic about the cloud, we also understand that our customers will transition to the cloud at their own pace. Many customers will remain on-premises or in hybrid deployments for the foreseeable future, and we want to keep delivering our newest and best features to them. Fortunately, our development process allows us to do that. We have a single code base that serves both cloud and on-premises customers, so we can deliver innovation to both groups.

Our development strategy continues to focus on Office 365 as the initial platform where we roll out new features. This approach allows us to introduce and test new features at scale before including relevant functionality into on-premises updates. The benefits of the strategy can be seen in Exchange 2013, where features such as Managed Availability are directly based on work done to automate and improve our datacenter operations. If you want clues about what’s coming in the next version of Exchange Server, keep an eye on what’s happening in Office 365.

It’s an exciting time for messaging and collaboration. Today’s technology trends— cloud, mobile devices, social computing, machine learning—all have the opportunity to make email more useful and powerful. We’ve got some great stuff cooking, and we’re committed to bringing innovation to all of our customers, whether they choose to deploy Exchange in the cloud or on-premises. The Exchange product team and our customers have a 17+ year history of successfully navigating changes in IT architecture and management together. We look forward to continuing that tradition with you.

Perry Clarke
Corporate Vice President
Microsoft Exchange

121 Comments
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I, for one, will be recommending to my company (10K seat or so) to remain on Exchange 2010 based on current issues and the feedback provided here on this blog posting.
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Team must be on holidays, celebrating a year of not creating anything that works, and still turning a profit off licenses.

Here's an IT phrase for 2014: Post-Microsoft Solution

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It seems the Exchange team has simply abandoned this blog and/or posts
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From what I'm gathering of this post, the road ahead for Exchange appears to be disaster.
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This is great news but you didn't answer one of the very questions that you brought up?

When is Service Pack 1 coming?  

For that matter, you initially promised quarterly releases for cumulative updates to correct many of the bugs present in Exchange 2013.  After the last snafu, you have not only passed that schedule but have gone dark as to when we can expect the next cu release.  Will you return to quarterly CU releases or will they be released as before (infrequently)?

There are some very clear issues with on-premises Exchange 2013 such as the issue with transparent OWA rendering to existing E2K10 users.  This is an example of an issue that doesn't affect the cloud but on-premises users.  It is ok that MS is focusing on the cloud but this seems to be not in conjunction but to the exclusion of on-premises users.  The trickle down effect only seems to apply when the cloud and on-premises share the same issues or features.  In fact, when CU2 was released there weren't even any accompanying notes as to what was even being fixed.  

So your post is well-intentioned and a good direction but doesn't even scratch the surface of the pain the on-premises users are facing when promoting your product.

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sounds good except one line:)

"It’s true that customers are shifting their Exchange deployments from on-premises to the cloud"

not exactly accurate when you consider all exchange base install compared to office 365(companies that migrated without everyone else... and DIDNT migrate back to on-premises)

im an exchange fan, don't get me wrong, but from hearing what the majority of my customers say, they aren't going to cloud any time soon(from different reasons)

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It would be nice to see a more defined roadmap as David said - this will allow enterprise to plan their strategies as well....so Exchange 2016?

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The question I hear most is: what happened to the quality of the products and updates Microsoft (and specifically the Exchange team) releases. Well, the answer is that the focus shifted from on-premises products to cloud services. And I blame nobody expect for the upper management who decided that the company needs to become a Devices and Services company.

And what good does this strategy bring us then? Managed availability is pretty much useless for on-premises deployments without SCOM because of the lack of user interface and reporting capabilities. What does it mean if 30% of the components report Unhealthy on a fresh out-of-the-box Exchange 2013 install? The other example I often hear is EAC which I'm told is what I should prefer over EMC because it's webbased. EAC is there because Microsoft needed it for Exchange Online, no on-premises customer asked to take away the previous interface with more features. Why do we see so many errors and warning in the event logs of our CU2 servers, why are there no real answers in the Forums except for 'me too, I see this too on all my Exchange 2013 servers'?

So yes, I agree that the development strategy continues focusses on Office 365. But please be honest and don't tell us that this brings only benefits. Let me wrap up my rant with another question: Many customers are looking for guidance to configure Server 2012 R2 WAP for the publishing of Exchange. Can we expect a whitepaper similar to the excellent TMG and UAG ones?

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Need more clear road map for CUs. It was stated one every quarter, but it seems it already slipped the date. There are issues in CU1, CU2 and no interim fixes are offered. I have few large customers waiting CU3 to fix some of the production issues.

when is CU3 coming? or SP1? I noticed cloud servers had been updates some time ago...

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We are also very interested in SP1 as well. Any guidance on this would be very valuable for us.

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When will Exchange 2013 be supported on Windows Server 2012 R2?????

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Folks, sorry to tease on SP1, look for a follow up post on SP1 timing very soon.

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I think PRISM will bring them back to OnPremises.

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Bring back a decent spam filter for Exchange 2013 on-premise. The out of box one is no good. I have no interest in the cloud hosted version.

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Exchange 2013 product and especially CU update quality is really, really poor. Many admins are afraid to install CU updates fresh when they arrive since there are many cases where it might corrupt entire Exchange installation and lead to severe outage and disaster recovery scenarios. The situation now is that one needs to wait 2-3 months before applying CU's to see if someone has broken their environment and blogged about fixes and tips to prevent that from happening. Currently waiting for CU3 to a known issue with Health Manager after spending hours and hours with Premier support. Can't really recommend upgrading to Exchange 2013 to any customer at the moment.

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Well, there should not be any issue if customers are either moving or remain on-premises Exchange 2013 from previous Ver. of Exchange. The Product still from MS and if Customer are happy on-premises/private Cloud then let them to be enjoy/satisfy on it. Looking on SP1 so that product can be more stable.

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NSA PRISM revelations has put a stop on Public Cloud / Office 365.

So Microsoft wake up :) and give us a super Exchange 2013 SP1 On-Premises.

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Please, PLEASE, **PLEASE** give me proper on-premise anti-spam filtering in Exchange 2013. Currently I have to run Exchange 2010 just for this functionality... !

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"It’s true that customers are shifting their Exchange deployments from on-premises to the cloud"

That is NOT true for your Worldwide customers, after the NSA PRISM revelations.

Wake up Microsoft.......

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When will be a SP, because with Exchange RTM, CU1 and CU2 V1/V2, are not ready for coexistence, I have the following issues:

1. The adminsitrator user has not all the rights to administrate the organization. Even when we include the user in the Enterprise admin group

2. The mails sended from Exch2k13 to Exch2k10 stuck in drafts, when we try the reverse (ex2k10 to ex2k13) is stuck in the queue

3. in our current environment (ex2k10 SP3 and an edge server ex2k10 SP3) Exch2k13 takes the mail flow control and all mails stucked in the transport.

4. The queue viewer not work!!!!, we use the queue viewer of ex21k0 and we cannot view the queues of ex2k13

5. Cannot connect to the EMS with administratives accounts because we receive an error message regardin WinRm, despite the WinRm are correctly configured

In short Exchange 2013 is a mess, released to the market without the tests of coexistence completed and another tests of full functionality done it.

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Speaking from experience, I have just one thing to say, please please please don't de-emphasize on premise support over Office 365. We run a large number of Exchange servers using the on-premise version, and all we want is to see you guys support the on-premise releases just as well as you do the Office 365 ones.

This to me means releasing the same features for both, and making the tools and functionality work just as well for your on-premise customers as it does for Office 365, and keeping licensing costs competitive (which have been increasing as your own per mailbox costs go down, this is pretty anti-competitive!).

It feels like to me like the focus is on getting everyone onto Office 365 with little thought put to those that can't or don't want to go to Office 365 for various reasons.

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Cu3 when????????????????????????? Why ms said 3 months if they can't achieve it.

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Hi

maybe without connection to this specific topic but:)

how can companies go backup less(and at the rate were going a lot will) when single item restore doesn't restore folder trees?(on mailboxes and public folders which are now mailbox public folders)

this is one heck of requested feature that's blocking many customers from going there because of the size of mailboxes or public folder(or public folder mailboxes)

Any idea?

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The very first step of co-existence of Exchange 2013 with 2010 is re-direction for OWA.  I installed 2013 in test with 2010 and the first thing which should be working out of the box is OWA re-direction.  I am stuck like many others with basic re-direction issues.  It has been days since I have been struggling to get it fixed and no progress in further testing.  No answers on forums, large number of people seeing same issue.  

I never understood why Microsoft clients (Exchange administrators) need to put so much time in making things work which should be working with minimum time and efforts.  Instead of working on Exchange architecture and design we all are working on to make re-direction work.

May be after sometime we give up and start opening up support cases with Microsoft and start paying them for support for no real reason or problem.  

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Dear community, this means MS (and the partners who support the installed base of Exchange) is pushing to the clients to buy Notes or another mail system to replace the Ex2k13, in latin america many of our links are not to good to move the infrastructure to the cloud. I'm asking myself, is Microsoft consider this? or only consider the customers in another regions where the access link to internet are far reliable than the latin american links.

In my particular case, I supported Exchange since the 4.0 version, and now i must'nt recomend the migration, because the mail infrastructure cannot coexistence in a transparent way.

Throw away the good job for only one third of clients is a very bad policy.

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@Vientos: This post reiterates that Microsoft will continue to ship new versions of Exchange Server as it has been in the past, every 2-3 years.

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A nice update for the focus on O365; however the on-premises deployments continue to suffer and even worse for Microsoft... move to be virtualized on VMware. That begs the question, has the Exchange team changed its stance on virtualizing? The constant message has been that virtualization adds too much overhead to an Exchange deployment; however the statements above seem to indicate a softening of that stance as Exchange's direction heads to O365. (my guess is that the O365 infrastructure isn't all physical boxes and DAGs) This is especially intriguing considering Perry's comments regarding the Exchange team being "committed" to bringing innovation regardless if a customer chooses an on-premises or private cloud.

This directional shift would be very interesting for Microsoft to confirm as there has been a very steady message for some time.

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Some clarification regarding current and planned support for Server 2012 R2 needs to be available. We shouldn't have to poke around non-Microsoft Internet sources to find out what problems might arise if, for example, we update domain controllers. This info should come directly from you guys and promptly.

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What I would like to know is when Microsoft are going to address long-standing bugs like this one:

social.technet.microsoft.com/.../sync-error-every-time-i-send-an-email

Not interested in Cloud.  Not interested in Exchange 2013 or later.  Not even interested in Exchange 2010.  Not interested in Office 365.  Not interested in Office 2013.  Not even interested in Office 2010.

Still running Exchange 2007 and Office 2007 and will be until I see some evidence that Microsoft are fixing bugs that have been reported Over and Over and Over again.  Wake up guys.  Speak to your management.  Customers like me are NOT happy with stuff like this ... and I am telling my management "We are NOT buying any more Microsoft products until I see evidence that they are fixing such widely-reported bugs".

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I work in healthcare and for legal reasons, we cannot simply shift to the cloud. A good proportion of organisations out there also will not move to the cloud for valid reasons. Since the focus on O365, I have seen a marked shift in Microsoft's level of support for on-premises environments e.g. no real Exchange 2013 BPA, most troubleshooting tools are gone, EAC is extremely limited for no good reason e.g. using the shell should not be mandatory for one-off tasks because its easier to do things like that from a user-friendly GUI; it should only be necessary for making mass changes or automating tasks. If your focus is going to be on the shell to the neglect of the GUI, then we might as well all move to UNIX-based applications. I think this is lazy programming -- putting a user-friendly GUI on top of things was what made Microsoft products so popular in the first place. Unless there are significant improvements to the next version of Exchange, then I won't be recommending it to management.

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Hi, that's blog is really nice but totally useless. We are waiting for CU3 and it still not coming. Are you serious that users can't forward external event invite to other people? How is possible that this is not working? Isn't exchange groupware? Isn't it's basic functionality receive and send emails? Guys, do harder, because it looks like you're doing nothing.

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Yes please, I'm hard pressed to recommend the Upgrade to Exchange 2013 to my management, because there is no real value to the business, so I guess I'm still on 2007 until it is out of support.

Please let us know when is the SP1 release date ? so that I can expect some good news to remedy the issue described by most people in this forum and especially this blog: theessentialexchange.com/.../exchange-server-2013-gotchas.aspx

I was on my way to pursue for MCM (Certified Master in Exchange Server, but somehow Microsoft has disappointed me and lots of people out there as well.

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Looks like he was in a hurry for eat or something that didnt answer his own questions.

When is Service Pack 1 coming?

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Just did an Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013 Migration today.

It failed completely, and we'll stay on Exchange 2010 for probably a few more years. Outlook Anywhere (RPC Proxy) appears to be totally dead. Few hours of troubleshooting could not fix it. If theres a TechNet article, we've read it.

The road ahead: Exchange 2010. As mentioned by a lot of other people in this thread, 2013 has serious issues, and Office 365 support/reliability in Australia is a joke.

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When will Exchange 2013 be supported on Windows Server 2012 R2?

>> We are waiting, because we have to migrate our Exchange 2007 environment to Exchange 2013 and we need to use Windows Server 2012 R2.

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When Exchange 2010 will support IE11 ?

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Exchange 2010 worked perfectly out of the box. E2013 is almost a year old, but still a beta product which is full of bugs even with CU2. If MS start to sell something that should be as stable as E2010 was on day one. This article has one message to me. Microsoft's priotrity is not the on-premise exchange nowadays.

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The greatest business decision of ALL time.

1. Invest in a software of 20 years (Exchange).

2. Get 80% of corporate Email market worldwide (Exchange).

3. Get 400 millions corporate mailboxes worldwide (Exchange).

Then Microsoft Management decide forget about Exchange On-Premise everyone should go Public Cloud.

Price less for Microsoft................LOL..........

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"The question I hear most is: what happened to the quality of the products and updates Microsoft (and specifically the Exchange team) releases."

That's the same question I keep hearing and wondering myself as well. Quality has really nose-dived with the onsite Exchange 2013 services. IMO, Exchange 2010 is in a lot of ways still the superior product even today.

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Microsoft listen to TJ here.

You have a successful Exchange On-Premises software so continue investing on it.

Do not DESTROY the software you have created 20 years ago & worked so hard to become a Messaging leader software in the world.

What stuff Microsoft management smoking :) ?

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"We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the release of Exchange Server 2013." No reason to be proud guys. One year is gone and Exchange 2013 still is beta software. I even cannot recommend this software to our customers without risking to loose them. Your former flagship is sinking. Fast. And Office 365 is not an option. Exchange 2010 of course is.

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"We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the release of Exchange Server 2013."

and it is almost like you did nothing for the entire year. users still dislike the new OWA interface regardless if it looks terrible on more supported platforms now. MAPI, Edge, and other services have been removed and  features degraded. We don't even have a decent GUI interface anymore. Bugs still plague the product. We can't even install the base product into an existing Organization without it immediately breaking the client CAS connectivity and we have to drop to PS just to set the uri to null. Exchange appears to have regressed tremendously with this version. Now, even the CUs are not being released on time anymore and countless patches have been recalled.

yes, it's the one year anniversary and on premises Exchange is still in terrible awful shape. Agree with a previous poster that this is nothing to be proud of. I might add that I've never seen such shoddy work from the Exchange team before. This is not an anniversary to be proud of.

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You have a lot of nerve posting a blog like this and/or are showing how out of touch the Exchange team is with its customers and reality.

"The Exchange engineering team is hard at work developing the NEXT version of Exchange" with focus on Office 365.

However, the engineering team should be hard at work finishing the CURRENT version of Exchange to make it stable and useable for on-premises customers.

One year after it's release on-premises users are still not able to do something basic as forwarding a meeting request to another user, we get complaints about this almost daily.

"Running Office 365 also brings us real-world experience that helps us build a better on-premises product. " and "Our development strategy continues to focus on Office 365 as the initial platform where we roll out new features. This approach allows us to introduce and test new features at scale before including relevant functionality into on-premises updates. The benefits of the strategy can be seen in Exchange 2013 ..."

On-premises customers have not been able to see these benefits or a better on-premises product at all. Despite it's issues with rollups, Exchange 2010 was a much better on-premises product, and while you are regularly deploying new Exchange 2013 builds on Office 365, we are still stuck with an unstable CU2 build with lots of unfixed issues and we have received untested broken updates.

You guys are still pretending that Exchange 2013 was a succesful release for on-premises customers and something to be proud of, when in fact it has been a complete and shameful failure so far, having caused lots of reputation damage. The whole NSA PRISM situation won't exactly help adoption of the Online version either for many customers.

Your blog is not giving us much confidence that this situation will improve going forward.

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MICROSOFT WAKE UP & GIVE YOUR WORLDWIDE CUSTOMERS A SOLID EXCHANGE 2013 SP1 ON-PREMISES.

Or loose 20 years of investment in this software. As the old saying goes "It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute."

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I think Microsoft's Exchange team is starting fall into the nasty rock star habit of believing their own press…

Hopefully the constant and repeated overall message pouring in from the comments here show them that they fell down on the job supporting their on-premises customers in pursuit of a cloud solution. Then again I think it’s wishful thinking they will acknowledge the problem and change course for the better.

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While I can appreciate this post and the message within (even if not all questions raised in it are answered and it's still IMHO very focused on O365), I do have some suggestions i hope you take into consideration going forward.

Like multiple commentators mention, there are bugs in Exchange 2013. With a complex product, that's not weird. I am however disappointed because there is less information publicly available compared to older Exchange versions (it is a subjective feeling). I also haven't seen a complete list with fixes with CU1 and CU2. I don't need a solution or a workaround. Just an acknowledgement could help IT Pros with explaining the situation to non-technical key persons (and prevent being wrongly blamed for incompetence...). More concrete information on new CU or SP release dates could help accepting a current sub-optimal situation.

It proves in my view that Microsoft is still invested in on-premises deployments and not chasing customers in the cloud because on-premises deployments have become too difficult.

But it is also possible that customers see/hear/read about issues with Exchange 2013 (whether they are correct or not) and hesitate to move to Office 365 as it is relatively well known on-premises shares the same code base as the cloud version.

Basically, on-premises Exchange is still very important for Microsoft and certainly for those IT-Pro's that design, implement and administer them. I do believe that with a bit more effort you could help IT-Pro's a lot.

These where my 2 cents and I hope you appreciate my attempt to reply with constructive comments/criticisms and that you find them helpful.

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Hi Perry,

Unlike many of the Exchange team post this one is surely one of the worst posts. I don't understand the point of it at all? Was it innovation, vapourware, O365 or first post for me? Please explain to the many recent replies here what you wanted to get across - certainly you did not answer:

When is Service Pack 1 coming?

What are you cooking up for the next version of Exchange?

I am in agreement that your team is presenting a view to the outside of 'marvellous job this year' when actually you are 1 year from original product release that had less functionality in many ways to its previous release and updates and literature severely lacking. I think your post should have been 'Exchange Server - on premise and what we should have provided by now'

Finally - the reason I like the Exchange blogs is because they are normally detailed, well presented and become a core part of most peoples knowledgebase. I hope this blog does not descend into something akin to a twitter feed.

Thanks

TC

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48 hours passed after this blog was posted and there is no response form the author to address any of the concerns..

It looks like Exchange team is agreeing with all what we say, and do not have much to add... Sad...

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i am more confused on the road ahead for Exchange than I was prior to reading this blog.

First, is anyone listening to these issues? if so, when can we expect a list of answers to the countless valid questions being raised?

Second, when is sp one coming out? Two days after posting this, you have still failed to answer your own question. same with feature details for the next version. what are they?

Third, you mention working pn a future version of Exchange, but wait a minute. You haven't finished the version you just released and are now delaying critical patches. How about no. How about stopping ALL work on future versions and fixing the version you have out there right now?

so, color me completely confused and unhappy with the direction things are going here.

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i am more confused on the road ahead for Exchange than I was prior to reading this blog.

First, is anyone listening to these issues? if so, when can we expect a list of answers to the countless valid questions being raised?

Second, when is sp one coming out? Two days after posting this, you have still failed to answer your own question. same with feature details for the next version. what are they?

Third, you mention working pn a future version of Exchange, but wait a minute. You haven't finished the version you just released and are now delaying critical patches. How about no. How about stopping ALL work on future versions and fixing the version you have out there right now?

so, color me completely confused and unhappy with the direction things are going here.