Microsoft last week made available the first public beta-test version of its newest Exchange Server that polishes the user interface, integrates mobile support, aligns with real-time collaboration features being added to the Windows operating system and refines administrative controls.REDMOND, WASH. -\u00a0Microsoft\u00a0last week made available the first\u00a0public beta-test version\u00a0of its newest Exchange Server that 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."There may be a couple of things that we add in depending on feedback, but for the most part the feature set is complete," says Jim Bernardo, product manager for the\u00a0.Net\u00a0enterprise server group at 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.Kodiak will incorporate a universal data store technology that will debut with the Yukon release of SQL Server, Microsoft's database software due to ship by early next year. The Yukon technology is key to Microsoft's Web services strategy in that it will create one location for storing data across Microsoft's back-end servers. But the change also means corporate customers might have to rewrite Exchange applications to work against the new data store.Both Microsoft and chief rival IBM\/Lotus, which late last year released Domino R6, are providing new versions of their software targeted at consolidation, cost savings and administrative efficiencies before making leaps to major changes in their platforms. IBM is replacing the Domino store with its DB2 database and integrating the collaboration server with its WebSphere Application Server.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.Microsoft does not plan another Exchange 2003 beta and expects to have a release candidate in late spring. A release candidate is software that is deemed worthy of general release but is exposed to a final round of testing.