Exchange 15 OWA Offline and Extensible?

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A few hours ago Mary-Jo Foley posted a blog in which she states (among other things not mentioned here) that the next version of Exchange (codename Exchange 15) could get an offline OWA. A requirement would be IE10.

Considering Windows 8 tablets, this could be quite the competitor for Microsoft's own ActiveSync (EAS, also incorporated in all versions of Windows 8). It would depend on the functionality while in offline mode; it’s only reasonable to assume functionality is limited when offline.

Offline OWA (OOWA? Confused smile) could be also interesting for those who don't want ActiveSync due to imposed (security) policies for instance. It will be interesting to see how this would impact Mobile Device Management in regards to BYOD, as SCCM 2012 and Windows Intune use ActiveSync for this purpose. I would expect a server side disable switch for this option in updated OWA Policies, but I suppose a remote wipe option would be harder to realize. But then again, the Windows 8 Mail app only removes relevant data and Windows does not revert to a factory state. The same strategy could be used here and should probably be sufficient.

In my opinion that wasn't actually the most interesting of her post, it mentioned the possibility of OWA Extensibility. Customization of OWA was pretty much limited to editing themes and adding functionality like Microsoft Lync integration. If this rumor is true, that could be quite exciting depending on the scope of possibilities and to what extent it will be supported by Microsoft. Perhaps part of your business application inline in OWA? Where would the limits be? Will this this also be possible with Offline OWA?

But remember, this is not confirmed by Microsoft. But my mind was already exploring the opportunities and caveats of these (hypothetical) features and I just had to share them. Finally some good rumors regarding Exchange 15!

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