At the recent SharePoint Conference 2008, Gates announced that the hosted services would be opened up to organizations of all sizes, coming to a node near you, so it was said, in the second quarter of this year.
Now considering how well Microsoft has be able to sell the “Be all you can be with SharePoint” dream, this announcement has surely inspired everything from cheers of joy to cynical snickers to shivers of fear.
The online collaboration and content management space is heating up damn fast. And being the nosy CMS'ers that we are, we rung up Tom Rizzo, Redmond's Director of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, to see if he could add a few nuggets of detail to the story.
CMSWire: Why is Microsoft making the move to on-demand solutions for SharePoint at a time when sales for the product are so high?
Tom Rizzo: We are developing hosted services to address partner and customer needs. The biggest reason for the interest is the ability to reach new customers and grow revenue more efficiently. We’ve already seen products like Live Meeting and Exchange Hosted Services fulfill that need and reach additional potential customers. Microsoft Online Services — comprised of hosted versions of SharePoint Server, Exchange Server and Office Communications Server — is a natural extension of this strategy.
Microsoft will continue to innovate and develop products and solutions that adapt to technology trends and meet customer need. Microsoft Online Services is a prime example of Microsoft’s software plus services strategy in action. Microsoft will continue to provide its customers with options in how they manage and access software — whether it’s online, on-premises or both.