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12/29/2006
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Exchange 2007 Drops Outlook Rights

Unlike in previous versions, Exchange 2007 doesn't include Outlook client access licenses -- except for companies that have bought into its Software Assurance upgrade program.

Microsoft's new Exchange 2007 sports licensing language that, unlike earlier editions of the e-mail server software, limits the right to use Outlook 2007 free of-charge only to those corporate customers that have bought into its Software Assurance upgrade program.

Exchange 2007, which was released to manufacturing earlier this month, strips Outlook 2007 from its CAL (Client-Access License). In previous versions of Exchange, customers received a copy of Outlook along with each Exchange CAL. Enterprises that purchased Exchange 2003 and 100 Exchange CALs, for instance, also received 100 copies of Outlook 2003.

The new mail server, however, restricts the free Outlook 2007 client software to companies that had a Software Assurance plan in place as of Nov. 30. Software Assurance is a Microsoft program that gives enterprises software upgrade rights during a multiyear contract in exchange for a flat annual fee.

"Unlike prior versions, Exchange Server 2007 Standard or Enterprise does not include the right to install Outlook on devices for which CALs are obtained," Microsoft said on its Exchange Server product licensing Web site. "However, for each Exchange Server CAL, Core CAL Suite or Enterprise CAL Suite with active Software Assurance coverage as of November 30, 2006, customers will be granted one Office Outlook 2007 license."

Some Exchange evangelists were mystified by the change.

"Without Outlook 2007, what exactly does Microsoft expect clients to use to access Exchange 2007? OWA [Outlook Web Access]? Previous versions of Outlook? It just doesn't make any sense to me," said Jeff Centimano, a Windows consultant and Windows Server MVP (Most Valued Professional), in his WindowsConnected blog.

"This is going to pose a significant problem for companies that have budgeted Microsoft Exchange 2007 purchase but have not made plans to move to Microsoft Office 2007," added Vlad Mazek, system administrator for ExchangeDefender.com and other Web sites, on his blog.

"This is either brilliant or idiotic, I am not sure which," Mazek concluded.

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