Glad to see someone willing to cry foul on Mr. Gates, who has had a habit of public data interpretation that is just a bit outside reality....

Given that a SharePoint license for an end-user is included with ("bundled with") the Enterprise CAL, Microsoft would like everyone to think that licenses sold equals seats in use. No, no, no. Those two things are not the same. If I took a guess, I'd pin the real user number in the 5-10 million region. There are NOT 100 million users of SharePoint across the world. As a comparative figure, Microsoft claims that is has licenses for 154 million seats for Exchange Server; that means that two-thirds of Exchange users are also licensed for SharePoint. Licensed, yes, using, no way.
Of course, the Gates quote that Sampson refers to could be interpreted a hundred million ways... MOSS?  SPPS?  WSS?  What product(s) are we talking about?  How many users are licensed multiple times and multiple ways?

Other reports from the 3800-attendee SharePoint conference provide more data about SharePoint.  That data seems to agree with Michael's decision to call the overall number into question.

Information Week reports that "Microsoft SharePoint Sales To Hit $1 Billion In 2008", but there's something just not adding up.  
Microsoft said it has now sold more than 100 million SharePoint licenses since launching the product in 2001. Microsoft sold 75 million through the end of 2005 and 25 million more in the last two years -- meaning the suite has enjoyed a compound growth rate in license sales of about 15% over the past two years.
The consensus among analysts has been that SharePoint has been seeing rapid, "viral" adoption over the last couple of years.  Yet 75 million licenses were sold before that time and only 25 million since.  Somewhere here, we're looking at a shelfware market.  Or we are looking at a product being bought for pennies on the dollar versus its list price of US$94 for the standard CAL and US$75 for the enterprise CAL.

And then there's the vaporware announcement of the week.  ZDNet's All About Microsoft reports, "Microsoft: Storage unification still somewhere out there":
[Gates] said that Microsoft is working towards more closely aligning SQL Server's  tables and SharePoint's lists with the next versions of each product (SQL Server 2008 and Office SharePoint Server 14).

SharePoint, from its inception, has been built on top of SQL Server, Gates said. Microsoft is working to allow other Microsoft applications, like Dynamics CRM, are SQL Server-based, too. Microsoft is moving toward making Active Directory "more of a meta-directory based on SQL Server," as well, he said. However, Exchange still has its own database that uses a different store than SQL Server, Gates admitted.

"Out in the future, Exchange will be built on SQL," Gates said again on March 3. But still no firm timetable or delivery vehicle was mentioned.
First announced in 2001, still on track for "out in the future".  And SharePoint may be "built on top of SQL Server", but it still requires separate SQL licenses.  They never seem to tell you that.

Link: Michael Sampson: Lies, Damned Lies, and SharePoint Licenses >

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