Open-Xchange, the open source-based competitor to Microsoft Exchange, has been garnering notice in 2011 with partner deals and hosted customer wins. And now the company is promoting a new tool designed to give partners and customers an easy path away from Microsoft Exchange by letting them use Microsoft Outlook with an Open-Xchange server running on the backend.

It's true that software familiarity can be a major barrier to adopting a new platform, and Microsoft Outlook, like Exchange, is the de facto enterprise standard for better or for worse. But Open-Xchange's philosophy is to  integrate with as many smartphones, clients, and platforms as possible and enable more value-added services for partners to resell.

That's where OXtender 2 for MS Outlook comes in: Developed by Open-Xchange technology partner VIPcom, it uses Microsoft's own MAPI protocol to integrate with Windows Explorer and Microsoft Outlook 2003, Microsoft Outlook 2007 and the 32-bit version of Outlook 2010.

And all information, including calendaring and appointments, get transferred back to the main Open-Xchange client. Needless to say, it's a not-very-veiled strike at Microsoft Exchange in an effort to get more cloud service providers and MSPs to switch over to Open-Xchange.

That said, the company does seem to be experiencing some channel momentum. As always, stay tuned to TalkinCloud for updates.

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