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The email environment is always what's called a Client/Server application. The Server, in our case Microsoft Exchange Server, is like a post office that receives and hangs on to, and sorts, and delivers mail. And then the clients are programs that operate like your mailbox, or a post office box. The most popular client for Microsoft Exchange is called Outlook. It's a full-featured application, software that has to be installed on your local computer.
And if you're using Outlook 2010, then it has the familiar ribbon across the top, like all of the other Office 2010 Applications have. Outlook looks like something that we spent money on, because we did, and it's a shiny fabulous full-featured program. But it's not the only client for Exchange Server. Another client is Windows Phones. Some users manage all of their email and calendar items and tasks on their phones, almost all of the time. So one client for Exchange is the Windows Phone. If you're a Mac user, then you're probably using Entourage, and that's another client similar to Outlook, but designed particularly for the Mac.
But in this course we're going to be talking about OWA or Outlook Web App, which has been called Outlook Web Access for over a decade and is usually just called OWA. OWA is a powerful client, because it's universal. No matter where in the world I am, I can use OWA to send and receive email, to check my Calendar, or to update my Tasks on Exchange Server, because OWA runs in a browser. I don't need to have anything installed on my local machine to use OWA; and I can use almost any browser I want on almost any computer.
I can use my friend's Mac running the browser Safari. I can use Firefox on a computer in a public library. I can use Internet Explorer running on my laptop. I can run OWA on all of these. And so, of all these clients, OWA is the preferred client for many users, particularly for many users who work on the road, because it's lightweight, it's easy to use, it's powerful, and it's universally available.
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