The Windows 8 mail, calendar, and people apps use ActiveSync to connect to Exchange Server accounts. While the apps are not as feature filled as Outlook (actually, they have no features), they are easy to set up and use. The apps support multiple Exchange mailboxes, along with Hotmail and Gmail accounts, using EAS.
The Windows 8 calendar app displays the Exchange calendars and appointments from multiple calendars are shown together. The contacts are in the People app. While I'm not sure the People app is going to help my productivity, since it makes it easier to access (time-killing) social networking feeds, but I like the calendar app. It's pinned to the edge of my monitor and stays on top, so my schedule is always visible - it helps to offset Outlook's problem with reminders not coming up on top.
To configure an Exchange server account on Windows 8, you'll need to log into the mail app using a LiveID. When you open the mail app for the first time, enter your LiveID address and password and the app will do the rest. To add additional accounts, press Windows key + I to open the Accounts Setup panel.
Will these apps replace Outlook on my laptop or a tablet pc? No way. The mail app is perfect for quickly reading mail on iPad-like tablets, but it's too lightweight for everyday needs, even for my personal accounts. It doesn't support drag and drop, so moving mail to folders (which are all expanded on the screen) is cumbersome. There is no signature option in the mail app.
The calendar app will make a nice companion for Outlook though, replacing the To-Do Bar with a merged calendar that is always on the screen. I'd prefer smaller appointment blocks so i could have more appointments visible at a time. Support for the Delete key and a delete button on the screen would be nice too - right clicking on an open appointment then clicking Delete is too much effort.