Microsoft ready to unveil portal software

The Redmond, Wash., giant announces it will soon ship new software for companies to build portal Web sites for its employees.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced it will soon ship new software for companies to build portal Web sites for its employees.

Microsoft said it has sent the final software code to its internal manufacturing process, the last move before the software is sent to customers.

The software giant aims to compete against Oracle, Sybase, IBM, iPlanet and others who already sell software that permits businesses to give employees one central Web site to access their email and calendars, corporate resources--such as internal sales data--as well as news and information from the Web.

Microsoft executives said the SharePoint Portal Server, formerly code-named Tahoe, will allow businesses to set up central areas for employees on projects to collaborate, share information and manage their documents, said Gytis Barzdukas, Microsoft's group product manager.

The portal software is based on Microsoft's Digital Dashboard software, its original technology for helping businesses create corporate portal Web sites. It includes technology that allows employees to customize their own corporate portal site, picking the information they want displayed, such as stock quotes or human resources manuals.

The SharePoint Portal Server, which will be widely available to customers within six to eight weeks, works with Microsoft's family of .Net e-business infrastructure software products, which include the SQL Server 2000 database, software that stores and collects information.

Microsoft on Wednesday said it partnered with about a dozen companies that will offer consulting services to businesses who want to use the portal software. Microsoft's partners include Cambridge Management Consulting, Ernst & Young, Compaq Computer, Dell Computer and Hewlett-Packard.

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