Microsoft Puts Exchange Server Out for Free Trial

Microsoft yesterday announced a free hosted trial for business customers to experience its Exchange Server 2007, one of the key components of its unified communications offerings.

The trial version, which has all the features and functions of the actual version, is meant to introduce potential new business customers to the Exchange Server, a unified messaging platform that Microsoft first unveiled in November. Microsoft's hope is that customers who test drive the application will eventually sign up for the full version.

Customers can sign up for the trial at https://signmeup.exchange2007demo.com/exchange2007demo. Once there, they can create a temporary account that will stay active for five days. These accounts will be pre-populated with sample messages, calendar appointments, and contacts, and can be used to send and receive mail, schedule meetings, and adjust options. Accounts can be accessed via Microsoft Outlook Web Access, Microsoft Office Outlook, or any application that is compatible with Exchange ActiveSync. 

The global trial program for businesses will run through December, according to Peter Tripp, vice president of the Strategic Programs Office for Unisys' Global Outsourcing and Infrastructure Services. Unisys is hosting and managing the demo of the Exchange Server 2007 software, which brings voicemail and email messages into the same inbox. Users can retrieve and send messages, and access their contact lists, calendars, and other email-related applications with their voices by phone or over the Internet from anywhere in the world.

"I'm a big fan of it. It's definitely an impressive platform," Tripp says. "That customers can now try it before they buy it is pretty exciting."

So far, the Exchange Server has been well-received by the business community, Tripp says. "People are definitely excited about it," he states.


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