Will the success of SharePoint 2007 keep 2010 from leaving the station?

Those who have studied physics might be familiar with the "story" of the penny and train. The story goes that if you place a single penny under each wheel of a train, you'll prevent it from moving forward. Essentially, the collective resistance from each penny prevents the train moving forward because it's the same as having the train try to overcome a single column of pennies equivalent to all of the pennies stacked.

As SharePoint 2010 draws near, I can't help but think that perhaps the sheer number of both licensees and add-on solutions, collectively represent a penny under each wheel of the SharePoint train. 100+ million licenses and thousands of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) clearly represent a SharePoint strength. In fact, the platform has become so popular that a few colleagues of mine suggested awhile back that perhaps SharePoint had effectively ended the great debate about what portal platform to buy.

If you were to poll most organizations, they would prefer to implement newer technology over older if given the choice. However, this is only true when they have little or nothing invested in the older technology. If you ask organizations the same question, after they've invested a great deal in the older technology, they might have the desire to implement the newer technology, but not the stomach; it's just too painful to think of all the work that would have to be "redone."

Now back to our proverbial train: will the 100 million SharePoint licensees and thousands of SharePoint add-on vendors prevent SharePoint 2010 from getting out of the station? Or will 2010 represent the next round of massive SharePoint adoption? As the SharePoint Report 2009 points out, there are quite a few vendors out there who support SharePoint and 2010 could be a terrific boon to organizations hoping to see more from SharePoint. However, if you've read the Enterprise Portals Report you also know that SharePoint isn't the only game in town (in case you needed reminding).

If organizations are going to spend significant time and money upgrading to 2010, why wouldn't they also consider alternatives?

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