Windows SharePoint Services Goes Gold

Microsoft officials unwrapped Windows SharePoint
Services (WSS) for Windows Server 2003 customers Wednesday.

The Web-based collaboration tool, renamed
from SharePoint Team Services in March
, is available for Server 2003
customers today, free of charge, as an add-on component to their
existing software suite.

Officials call the new tool the next generation of file serving and
collaboration. According to Mike Fitzmaurice on the WSS team, while the
software is optimized around individual groups to place any kind of file
type, application or discussion thread to get the project done, it’s
truly suited for the IT guys, who can set guidelines, see who’s using
the SharePoint and allocate more server space if needed, he said.

“It scales up to tens of thousands of SharePoints,” Fitzmaurice said.
“They’ll be able to see who’s using it, or not using it. It takes file
storage to a new level and gives people a much more accessible product
with no additional setup.”

It’s the software’s ability to draw a fine line between creating an open
environment for end-users and letting IT managers draw up parameters
that officials feel makes the product a success.

Said Kurt DelBene, Microsoft vice president of information worker
servers: “Windows SharePoint Services directly addresses the growing
demand for web enabled collaboration by end users, while also giving IT
a powerful integrated solution that manages the growing complexity in
intranets, reduces administrative cost and improves overall customer
satisfaction.”

Microsoft plans for WSS to play a “supporting role” in the upcoming iteration of Microsoft Office 2003, the culmination of software, Web services and business
tools. Part of the Office System, as the company calls it, the new
all-things-for-all-businesses will include the SharePoint Portal Server
2003, which allows the information kept at the SharePoints to be
organized, managed, indexed and shared with the entire company if
needed.

In May, the company rolled up its
real-time communications server (now dubbed Office Live Communications
Server) into the Office System. SharePoint Portal Server 2003 will become publicly available Oct. 21.

While WSS is compatible with earlier versions of Office 2003, Fitzmaurice said, because it relies upon the file security features found in IIS 6.0 most of the functionality is lost. Customers can download WSS here.

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