Yesterday I mentioned Bill Gates’ Microsoft SharePoint Conference keynote in which he reported surprising success for SharePoint, but John Fontana at InfoWorld says there is more to the story:
But it was a question and answer session with attendees after the keynote where Gates smacked IBM/Lotus and outlined future plans to make SQL Server the native underlying platform for SharePoint, Exchange, meta-directory, and all Microsoft server applications with data storage needs. He also said it would take some time for Microsoft to unify its workflow engines. Currently, BizTalk, SQL Server, Identity Integration Server and SharePoint are among the Microsoft products that have their own workflow engines. Microsoft is developing a workflow technology for the operating system called the Windows Workflow Foundation, but Gates did not mention it.
When an audience member asked for his views on IBM’s Workplace platform and Louts Notes, Gates, with tongue-in-cheek, admitted his bias toward Microsoft before slamming his rival.
He said IBM/Lotus has done nothing new in the productivity software space since Notes founder Ray Ozzie left in 1997 to found Groove. Ozzie is now CTO at Microsoft having joined the company when it bought Groove last year.
“They have really gone back to not so much thinking about productivity software,” said Gates. “I don’t know of any substantial use of Workplace that is out there.”
I’m sure that IBM is capable of defending itself, but Gates’ mention of Groove begs the question that if SharePoint is Microsoft’s collaboration solution, what purpose is being served by Microsft’s plans to ship Groove which is now an Office product? I’m sure it would be a modest embarrassment for Ray Ozzie if Groove were discontinued, but does Microsoft really need two collaboration products?
As far as settling on common storage and workflow engines for Microsoft products, it’s a nice objective, but I’m not holding my breath since the entropy of all the separate product groups has always prevented it in the past.