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SharePoint '2.0' Details Released

Microsoft's fledgling SharePoint Portal Server is being renamed to emphasize its close integration with the Microsoft Office suite, the company revealed this week.

The product is now called "Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003." The move follows Microsoft's decision to package the Beta 2 version of SharePoint Portal Server with the Microsoft Office 2003 Beta 2 kit, which went out to testers recently. That version of the portal server did not yet carry the new name.

"It acts as a main hub for the Office System desktop," Jeff Teper, general manager of the Business Portals Group at Microsoft, said in a statement Monday.

SharePoint Portal Server is an intranet portal providing company-wide search, single sign-on and personalization, among other features. Uptake has been moderate, with Microsoft last claiming about 2 million seats for the product, compared with the 100 million-plus seats the company claims for Exchange. The first version of SharePoint Portal Server came out in May 2001.

Microsoft uses the SharePoint name in three senses. There's the server, which is a companywide portal. There's SharePoint Team Services, which also shipped as part of Office XP and provide team workspaces. Lately, Microsoft has also talked about SharePoint Services for Windows Server 2003, which will be delivered as an add-on to Windows Server 2003 and will take over the team workspace functionality formerly handled in SharePoint Team Services.

With the new version of the portal server, Microsoft will build on the SharePoint Services add-on for Windows Server 2003. New features include real-time alerting, wizards to help information workers create SharePoint sites and invite participants from inside and outside the company, and the ability to search Lotus Notes among Microsoft sources for relevant documents.

The Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 is now grouped with the newly named Microsoft Office System, which includes Word, Excel and Outlook, rather than the .NET Enterprise Servers, which include SQL Server, Exchange Server and BizTalk Server.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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