Steve Ballmer addressed the sold out Microsoft SharePoint Conference (SPC) this morning in a keynote titled Unveiling Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Steve began by observing that he has never spoken at a SharePoint Conference before, stating that, "SharePoint is one of my favorite products at Microsoft." After the expected applause, Steve recognized that, "yeah, it's an easy applause line, but it happens to be true too!" With an assist from Tom Rizzo, who provided demos in the areas of developer productivity, SharePoint Server for Internet sites, and FAST Search Server 2010, Steve spent the better part of an hour demonstrating his genuine passion for SharePoint.
Steve officially announced that the public Beta of not only SharePoint 2010 but of all of the Office 2010 infrastructure, plus SharePoint Workspace, will take place in November. Though an exact date has yet to be announced, the wait won't be much longer before the world will be able to get its hands on the next generation of SharePoint. After the Beta period, SharePoint and Office 2010 will be officially released to the market in "the first half of next year."
Mentioning that when he's visiting clients, even now, Steve is often asked, "what is SharePoint?" "Is it a collaboration system?" "Yes." "...business insight?" "Yes." "...social networking?" "Yes." "Workflow?" "Yes." "Document management?" "Yes." Steve said that in his opinion, SharePoint is "kind of a magical product, in a way."
With a primary focus on rapid response to business needs, Steve discussed three key changes that have taken place between the 2007 and 2010 versions of SharePoint. The first was the empowering of end users, to the extent that now even the creation of custom solutions is no longer limited to developers and IT pros, but can be accomplished by power end users via integrated developer tools in SharePoint 2010.
The second key change is that with 2010, the focus has shifted from not concentrating merely on enabling and supporting the creation of intranet sites with SharePoint, but fully-featured Internet-facing sites. With a focus "on a set of capabilities for both" intranets and Internet-facing sites, companies like Volvo are expected to increasingly use SharePoint not just internally, but as a means of presenting themselves to their customers on the Internet.
Finally, rather than SharePoint being something that you host yourself on premises, SharePoint Online is now available in the cloud, as a Microsoft hosted offering. SharePoint Online has been available since earlier this year, and currently numbers over a million users between over a thousand environments. Steve noted that not only are "almost all" of the end user capabilities of SharePoint are available in the cloud, but that new and robust features for developers will be available in SharePoint Online with 2010. Perhaps best of all, contrary to the period of years between major client releases, the capabilities of SharePoint Online "are updated quarterly."
Tune in for a blog entry dedicated to Tom Rizzo's demos from the keynote, or watch the entire keynote courtesy of Microsoft:
Catch up on all of our SPC '09 sessions coverage:
Oct 19 2009, 03:59 PM
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