I have been accused many times of having a Microsoft bar code tattooed on my neck over the years, as a long time consultant on Microsoft technologies. So, while posting these failings may not exactly be like Luther nailing his treatise to the door of the church, I feel compelled to point out that as a product, SharePoint, like the king, is wearing no clothes.His five reasons are:
There are five reasons, Bill, why SharePoint is underutilized.
1. It's a crappy mish-mash of multiple technologies.
2. The development team is playing the Longhorn card.
3. There are two SharePoint products, which is confusing.
4. Support for SharePoint is lacking.
5. Microsoft has not stated a strategic direction for SharePoint
What I find especially interesting is watching the blog responses in the Microsoft community to this article. In the past, some have tried to brand the "Lotus community" as sensitive, rabid, or inflammatory, based on reactions to criticism. Let's see how Microsoft-oriented bloggers handle this one...
One MS MVP's response is titled Mr. Drips, please call 732-5489. He uses helpful language such as "get over it".
Another MS MVP (whose Google ads don't render properly in Firefox) also takes the approach of slamming the article's author, rather than his content.
One of my favorites is the SharePoint Portal MVP saying
First off, SharePoint was never a competitor for pure portal products. While the SharePoint Portal Server product might have the word Portal in it, that's an overloaded term and it means different things to different people, companies, products, and purposes.I'll let my colleagues in the WebSphere Portal team know about this right away, so they can start telling customers who ask the difference between the products "well you see, SharePoint isn't really a competitor...".
And then we have a Microsoft SharePoint product manager responding, Arpan Shah. This is good -- exactly what blogs should be doing. On the negative side, Shah seems to take the approach of "you are ill-informed, therefore you are wrong". He, too, attacks the author rather than the content ("A part of me didn't want to blog about this... because it gives Mike's article more importance than it deserves"). In true MS contrarian fashion, Shah says that the fact that there are two products branded SharePoint is "a good thing". Really?
In the end, it seems like almost all of this is mostly hot air. There's a lot to be learned about perception across all these articles and blogs, though.
UPDATE 11 July 10:29 AM:
Bill Simser deleted his "Mr. Drips, please call 732-5489" blog entry, calling it "my emotions getting the better of me". Breach of blogging etiquette, isn't that? Guess he didn't want that second quote going too much further, but I'll leave it here.
Another MS-focused blogger says "get over it".
Also, as there have been questions why I pushed a bit on the SharePoint brand: My point is, Microsoft did a great job streamlining their business-focused branding with Office System and Windows Server System. SharePoint is a sub-brand that straddles these two brands. Their overlap is unclear in the minds of a lot of customers and analysts that I interact with. Thus, the attitude that was in Shah's blog entry of basically "it works, your wrong" is really what I was commenting on. MS often pokes at WebSphere as a brand being a "bucket of bolts", but there is a difference between a unifying brand (WebSphere, Workplace, etc) and applying one to multiple overlapping products.