What's driving Microsoft SharePoint adoption?

Microsoft SharePoint is booming, largely because it drives down the cost and complexity of collaboration.

Microsoft's SharePoint has now topped $1 billion in licenses and is perhaps the fastest-growing product in Microsoft's history. What is driving that growth? The same thing that has driven all of Microsoft's most successful products: Microsoft removes complexity (and cost) from existing markets, as Craig Roth notes:

To a certain extent, the excitement about SharePoint has really been a reflection of disillusionment with existing collaboration, content management, and portal products. The people that are interested in SharePoint - despite already having incumbent alternatives - see at first glance a product that may finally provide easy-to-use, inexpensive, web-based collaborative solutions.

Love them or hate them, Microsoft does lower the bar to computing. Its products can be shoddy (SharePoint is no winner in that department - just try scaling it) but that's a trade-off many are willing to make in order to have something, anything that works reasonably well at a reasonable price.

The question for the market is whether anyone can "out-Microsoft Microsoft" in the collaboration space. I believe we can. My own company, Alfresco, does so, but there are a range of other competitors (Jive, Liferay, MindTouch, Drupal, etc.) that go after the same general problem of connecting people around productivity tasks.

This, I believe, is enterprise software's most interesting market going forward. It will be a chance to compete with Microsoft at the top of its game, on a business problem that will persist and be exacerbated by a recession.

Disclosure: I am an employee of Alfresco, an open-source collaborative content vendor, and am an advisor to MindTouch.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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