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Microsoft Re-Christens SharePoint

With Microsoft planning two major releases this year -- Windows Server 2003 on April 24th and Office 11 in late summer -- the software giant Monday moved to rebrand team collaboration technology, which it considers a key component of both offerings.

Microsoft said Monday that its SharePoint Team Services will now be dubbed Windows SharePoint Services, adding that the collaboration platform will be available to Windows Server 2003 customers in mid-2003.

"In today's world, basic file sharing isn't enough," said Bill Veghte, corporate vice president of the Windows Server Group at Microsoft. "Windows SharePoint Services is the next-generation platform for file sharing and team collaboration. It redefines the way teams work together and share information, increasing the productivity of your entire company."

Built on the .NET Framework, the Web-based environment enables the use of Web services to allow Windows SharePoint Services sites to connect directly with end-user productivity tools like Microsoft's Office suite.

"In the upcoming release of Office, we've made a commitment to integrating platform technologies like Windows SharePoint Services to take the power of collaboration and deliver it into the tools that information workers use most," said Joe Eschback, corporate vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft. "Together, Windows SharePoint Services and Office will deliver revolutionary team capabilities that will streamline ad-hoc collaboration, making it easy for information workers to take advantage of the power of team collaboration every day."

As an example, Microsoft said SharePoint's integration with Office 11 will allow multiple information workers to use the check-in/check-out feature of the new Document Workspace to work on the same document without overwriting each other's changes. It will also give them the ability to receive real-time notices of changes and to connect directly with other editors via Windows Messenger. The Document Workspace connects to a Windows SharePoint Services Web site, where teams have access to shared task lists, calendars, discussion strings and Meeting Workspaces.

Additionally, Microsoft said SharePoint Portal Server will tap the SharePoint Services platform to deliver cross-site search capability and line-of-business application integration. It will also allow Portal Server to create portal pages for people, information and organizations.

Also, Microsoft said corporate developers and ISVs will be able to build on the new capabilities to deliver new productivity features.