I am returning to work tomorrow (Tuesday) after a couple of weeks off for parenting leave.  During that time, I've read some interesting content without time to blog it.  This particular link, from Forrester's ZDNet blog last month, seems like a good way to ease back into things.

What strikes me about Forrester's interview with Steve Ballmer is that Mr. Ballmer seems relatively incapable of new or original ideas, just keeping up with the competition and buzzword bingo.  Along with recent public condemnation of his counterpart technical leadership, you really have to wonder who is flying the plane out in Redmond.

Anyway, let's look at a few excerpts.

Steve's view on SharePoint's decade-long evolution from a basic document sharing application to a broad platform for rapid application development, intranet and internet sites, content management, search, social computing, and composite applications
While this statement is not a direct quote from Ballmer, it reflects what is said in the video interview.  Basically, Microsoft's position is that SharePoint is now Lotus Notes/Domino.  Well, Microsoft would never say that, but each one of those attributes is something that Notes/Domino did/does/delivers.  The challenge for me is that this moving target is pretty hard to nail down -- the different capabilities of SharePoint vary wildly in sophistication and deployability; as Michael Sampson, consultant and author of books on SharePoint said, "companies like Ferrari have "obviously spent carloads of money in order to make it [Ferrari.com] not look like SharePoint at all."  The product is capable, no doubt, but on some levels significantly while others only to have the competitive checkbox.  The conference drew 7000 people, so clearly many are having success with the product, but is it really a composite applications platform in the same way that Lotus Notes 8 is?

The other quote that drew my attention was
Steve appears completely content for now capturing even a portion of the smaller apps market. To get there, Microsoft must convince enterprise architects that tools like InfoPath Forms and SharePoint Designer can be used without taking down entire SharePoint server farms, something Microsoft has ostensibly failed to do thus far. Is SharePoint 2010 the answer? Won't know til the Beta is underway in November. But given Steve's talk of creating a SharePoint "sandbox in the cloud," my bet is we'll see lots of liberal arts programmers forged into "SharePoint Developers" over the next decade (whether enterprise architects like it or not).
A "sandbox in the cloud"?  That's not a very common phrase.  Hmm, who said that recently about a collaborative application development tool...
We're also looking at ways to have a "Domino server in the cloud" where such developers will have access to a sandbox environment to try out their applications.
The key difference here being IBM's willingness to evolve Domino Designer to add new capabilities and modern architectures, versus Microsoft's willingness to introduce new tools to build on SharePoint and dump the old ones.  Rip and replace on many levels, indeed.

Link: ZDNet: A Forrester interview with Steve Ballmer about the SharePoint Business >

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