SharePoint 2010: Still confused?

  • 16-Apr-2009

Microsoft has recently announced that the new SharePoint version will be called "Microsoft SharePoint 2010." The announcement had lots of other goodies in it, but I was particularly interested in the name change.

Microsoft will often change product names from version to version; clearly to create distinction in the market, but occasionally as the result of moving products from one Microsoft team to another (as happened with SharePoint). 

However, in this case, the announcement suggests that the disappearing "Office" moniker was confusing to customers because they associated it with the client software.  Unfortunately, the resulting name change for SharePoint will be the third brand since its inception: SharePoint Team Services changed to Windows SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server changed to Microsoft Office Server and now to simply Microsoft SharePoint.

What is more of a challenge though, is the continued confusion that customers already have with the name SharePoint.  It’s associated with both server-based and client side products.  On the server side, there are three versions of SharePoint to choose from: Windows SharePoint Services, Office SharePoint Server standard and Office SharePoint Server enterprise.  While Microsoft may not make as many distinctions, each of these SharePoint products is distinct; this is especially true when you have to pay for licenses.  In fact, this brand confusion is precisely why we spend time in the SharePoint Report, and at various conferences, explaining the various SharePoint versions and where they fit in the Information Worker universe at Microsoft.

Going forward, my hope is that this latest name change will help reduce confusion and not add to the existing SharePoint brand complexity.  However, I have a feeling that not a whole lot will change; customers will continue to be confused by what their Microsoft reps are talking about.

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