Microsoft Corp. has made available the first public beta-test version of its newest Exchange Server, which polishes the user interface, integrates mobile support, aligns with real-time collaboration features being added to the Windows operating system and refines administrative controls.

Code-named Titanium when the first private beta-test version was launched last summer, the server will be known now as Exchange Server 2003. The software is expected to ship in mid-2003. The software works in tandem with the Outlook client in Office 11, which is expected to ship in the same time frame. The Beta 2 of Exchange 2003 is mostly finished, according to Microsoft. Exchange 2003 is a fit-and-finish release coming on the heels of Exchange 2000 and is an interim step toward a version of Exchange under development, which is code-named Kodiak. Absent from this release is support for instant messaging, which is being removed from Exchange and added to the base operating system in Windows .Net Server 2003, which is expected to ship in April.

OASIS considers PKI for Web services

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards has formed a technical committee to increase awareness about the use of public-key infrastructure for Web services and other applications.

PKI, which has shown much promise but garnered little corporate adoption because of its complexity, enables secure electronic transactions based on digital certificates. The new technical committee will operate within the PKI Member Section, and focus on delivering white papers, implementation guidelines and conformance tests.

Lucent seeks IP partnerships

Lucent Technologies Inc. is lining up partnerships to fill in the gaps in its IP/Multi-protocol Label Switching portfolio after the recent cancellation of its multiservice core packet switch.

Industry sources say Lucent is talking with Juniper Networks Inc. about offering Juniper’s routers for wireline IP/MPLS requirements. The structure of the potential arrangement is unclear, but Lucent would become another large systems player, along with Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Nortel Networks Corp. and Siemens AG, marketing Juniper routers to joint customers. Lucent then would provide the ATM overlay component of Juniper’s recently announced Model for Integrated Network Transformation revenue-generation architecture, industry sources say. Lucent and Juniper would not comment on these developments, characterizing them as rumours. Industry sources say the Juniper deal could be announced this quarter.