Web 2.0 means different things to different people.
To Microsoft's Office team, Web 2.0 does not mean a Web-centric version of Microsoft Office, a la Google Apps. It does mean add-ons to SharePoint Server, Microsoft's back-end bundle of server applications (Or Microsoft's "social computing platform," as Microsoft also seemingly is referring to SharePoint these days.)
During the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston this week, Microsoft is making a few announcements that it is labeling as pieces of its Web 2.0 strategy.
On June 19, Microsoft took the wraps off Version 2.0 of the so-called "Community Kit for SharePoint," which will include new versions of its Enhanced Blog, Enhanced Wiki, ChatterBox Ajax and Tag Cloud editions. Microsoft will make available for download from its Codeplex site on June 19, company officials said.
During his scheduled Tuesday keynote at the conference, Derek Burney -- the general manager of SharePoint Platform and Tools (and former Corel CEO) -- also will announce that Microsoft itself is building 100 "next-gen business applications" on top of SharePoint by the end of fiscal 2008 (June 30, 2008). One of these apps is called SharePointPedia "which will help make SharePoint technical and support content from both internal Microsoft and community sources easier for customers to find," Microsoft officials said.
Microsoft has been building out a growing family of SharePoint applets/templates for a couple of years now. These 100 new SharePoint-centric apps are something different.
"These (100 next-gen SharePoint apps) are actually business applications that Microsoft's internal Field Center of Excellence is building for internal Microsoft applications - not to distribute to customers as templates. They are using SharePoint as a base to build 'no-code' solutions - using 80-90% out of box SharePoint functions and for the remaining 10-20%, leveraging re-use components such as web parts," a company spokeswoman clarified.
Other products/technologies that Microsoft also identifies as components of its Web 2.0 strategy include (according to a statement from the aforementioned Microsoft press rep): "people and expertise search (via SharePoint), wikis, blogs and RSS feeds, corporate profiles and social networking tools, as well as presence,instant messaging and web conferencing."
Microsoft doesn't seem to be wavering from its Software+Services vision, in spite of pundit proclamations that Google Apps and Google Gears "could augur the death" of the Redmond software maker. What's your take? Is Microsoft sticking its head in the sand, or pursuing the right course for itself and its customers?