With this week's launch of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010, it's no surprise that the mainstream press is trying to figure out the prognosis for these Microsoft products.  This article in the Seattle Times discusses how Microsoft has grown SharePoint into a billion dollar business.

Which, well, if that is all it is, I have to say, makes it a lot less successful in enterprise software terms than Microsoft would have everyone believe.  Clearly, a lot of the SharePoint brand's success is carried on the back of the free Windows SharePoint Services, versus the pricey Office SharePoint Services, SQL Server, blah blah blah combo that sits atop it as a superset.

At any rate, it's a plus to see that this reporter recognizes the currency of Lotus Notes as a competitor, as do others (including Microsoft) as quoted in the article:

SharePoint's biggest competitor is IBM Lotus Notes. But other companies are launching products to both nibble away at and leapfrog past Microsoft. ...

Salesforce.com is testing Chatter, a Facebook-like network for companies.

"The legacy of IBM Lotus Notes and Microsoft SharePoint is built around files and making file-sharing feasible across applications," said Kendall Collins, chief marketing director of Salesforce.com. "The fundamental question we started asking is, 'Why isn't enterprise software more like Facebook?' "
You know, my friend and smart guy Alan Lepofsky said years ago that gaming interactivity would come into the enterprise, but I don't think he meant Farmville, poking, or "am I hot or not?"
Kurt DelBene, senior vice president in the Microsoft Business Division, says while he does hear about Lotus Notes when he talks to customers, he doesn't hear much about Chatter.

"Socially networking strategies don't exist by themselves," he said. "We have a lot of people saying, 'We know social networking is important. We expect you to include it as a part of Office,' " rather than making a separate product.
How many times in 20 years have I heard Microsoft say..."include it as part of Office" (or Windows) as justification for death grip bundling and integration that kills innovation in a market.  In this, as with many other things, Microsoft has successfully used their "keep at it until it works" strategy to build something that can't be dismissed as a relevant and valuable piece of software.  The question is, where does it go now?

Link: Seattle Times: The story behind success of Microsoft SharePoint >

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