The Windows Server team has decided to decouple its Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) collaboration/document workflow subsystem from Windows Server 2008.
In its acknowledgement of the move, Julius Sinkevicius, Windows Server Senior Product Manager, announced the decision via the Windows Server blog on October 29. Sinkevicius was somewhat vague about the reasons why the server team decided to make WSS 3.0 available as a free download, rather than make WSS 3.0 available as part of the final version of Windows Server 2008, which is slated to be released to manufacturing in the first quarter of 2008. Sinkevicius blogged:
"This is how Windows SharePoint Services was available to Windows Server 2003 customers (pre-R2). With the beta and RC0 versions of Windows Server 2008, we offered it in the Windows Server 2008 software. Starting with RC1 and going forward, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 will have to be downloaded separately.
"Basically, we made this decision to allow customers to most conveniently obtain the technology while allowing Microsoft to have flexibility in the Windows SharePoint Services development process."
I asked for more specifics on what led to the decision. Was it a desire to keep Windows Server smaller? To control complexity?
A spokeswoman reiterated that it's mostly about the WSS team wanting more "flexibility with the development cycle," in terms of aligning and investing in service packs, new releases and features and "bringing innovation to customers and to other products and applications built on WSS."
Are there some new WSS-based products coming we don't know about? What's your take on why Microsoft decoupled WSS from Windows Server? Do you care that it's a downloadable add-on again?