Microsoft is working on native mobile SharePoint-connected applications for Windows 8, Windows Phone and iOS, which will begin coming to market by early 2013.
Microsoft officials are making available prototypes of the Windows Phone 8 version of one of the coming SharePoint applications as of November 12, the day that Microsoft's SharePoint Conference 2012 in Las Vegas kicks off.
"We've had a design team four times in size compared to what we've had working on previous SharePoint releases," said Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President of Office Servers and Services Program Management. The result: Mobile apps that reflect the "modern" style that Microsoft is pushing across Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
Among the demos the estimated 10,000 attendees of the conference will see are a SharePoint Newsfeed app and a SkyDrive Pro app.
The SharePoint Newsfeed app is designed to provide users with access from their mobile devices to the people and documents they follow. A preview version of the Windows Phone app -- a screen capture of which is embedded in this post above -- is available today. The SharePoint Newsfeed app will also be available on Android at a later, unspecified date, Microsoft execs said.
(To get the Windows Phone Newsfeed test build, users running Windows Phone 7.5 or 8 devices should type aka.ms/spwp into their IE mobile browsers and follow instructions from there.)
Here's a screen shot provided by Microsoft of what a mock-up of the Newsfeed app for Windows 8. A test build of this version is not yet available:
A separate SkyDrive Pro app will provide Windows 8 and iOS users with access to SkyDrive Pro. In spite of some Microsoft officials' claims to the contrary, SkyDrive Pro is the new name for SharePoint Workspace. It allows users to save SharePoint content for offline use. There's already a SkyDrive Pro app available as part of the Office Hub on Windows Phone 8. Microsoft officials plan to announce availability targets for the Windows 8 and iOS versions of this app "at a later time."
The SharePoint group isn't the first Microsoft team to demonstrate and talk up plans to develop Metro-Style/Windows Store versions of their mobile apps. Microsoft's Dynamics ERP and CRM teams have shown and discussed work on this front, as well. The Microsoft CRM team said it plans to have a native, mobile version of Microsoft CRM for Windows 8 by mid-2013.
In an interview prior to the start of the SharePoint Conference, Teper reiterated that Microsoft split the SharePoint team in two three years ago. Half the team focused on the cloud/Office 365/SharePoint Online versions of the product. The other half of the team focused on social and mobile.
"We are looking to further pivot to a devices and services world in a more unified way," Teper said -- reflecting Microsoft's new emphasis on remaking itself as a devices and services company, an evolution of its software and services charter.
SharePoint is now one of just a handful of Microsoft products that is contributing more than $2 billion annually in revenues, according to Microsoft officials. (That milestone was achieved at the end of Microsoft's fiscal 2012 in June 2012.) SharePoint was one of the first Microsoft products to cross the $1 billion business threshhold.