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Microsoft Software The Almighty Buck

The Hidden Costs of Microsoft's Free Office Online 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-ain't-cheap dept.
Michael_Curator writes "Despite what you've heard, the online version of Office 2010 announced by Microsoft earlier this week won't be free to corporate users. Business customers will either have to pay a subscription fee or purchase corporate access licenses (CALs) for Office in order to be given access to the online application suite (Microsoft already does this with email — the infamous Outlook Web Access). But wait — there's more! A Microsoft spokesperson told me that customers will need to buy a SharePoint server, which ranges from $4,400 plus CALs, or $41,000 with all CALs included, if they want to share documents created using the online version of Office 2010."
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The Hidden Costs of Microsoft's Free Office Online

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  • well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:25AM (#28740203)

    you need the server to run the apps inhouse rather than out of your control. The same is true of things like google docs and other cloud apps. either you run it on their servers and gove third parties access to your data or you pay to run it on your servers. this is not a surprise or even unreasonable.

    • Re:well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by markdavis (642305) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:32AM (#28740261)

      Yeah, it sounds like the article is confusing free, online, other-party-hosted applications with non-free, online, self-hosted applications. Both have existed for a long time.

      Since Microsoft's main bread and butter is MS Office, why would they offer a "free" version- offline or online, other than trialware, crippleware, or sampleware?

      • by jipn4 (1367823)

        Since Microsoft's main bread and butter is MS Office, why would they offer a "free" version- offline or online, other than trialware, crippleware, or sampleware?

        Competition [google.com] perhaps?

    • Re:well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:08AM (#28740471) Homepage Journal

      Sorry, it is certainly unreasonable if 3rd parties have access to my data. Suppose that all in one afternoon, I do Grandma's tax return, do a medicare application for Aunt Helga, make a resume for my son, etc, etc, etc, you're saying that ALL of that data should be accessible by unknown 3rd parties? Every application hosted in the web should supply my data to anyone, and everyone, around the globe?

      Totally unreasonable.

      This is why I am not entirely thrilled about the web. Notice, I'm not just picking on Microsoft here - the same applies to Google and any other company that might supply applications in the future.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by larry bagina (561269)
        Additionally you have government regulations (enforced with jailtime and fines) for HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and other shit.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mick88 (198800)

        >This is why I am not entirely thrilled about the web.

        Not thrilled about the web, eh? Hmm. I'm not sure this is the web's fault, to be honest.

        If you pay attention to the comment you're replying to, you'll notice the post didn't suggest that all data be accessible by any and all unknown 3rd parties. But what he/she says is that when you do your tax return online with TurboTax, they have access to your data. That _is_ reasonable. Just like when you walk into a brick-and-mortar H&R block to do you tax r

        • Sorry, fingers got ahead of the brain there. I meant "cloud", not "web". ;-)

        • by vadim_t (324782)

          But what he/she says is that when you do your tax return online with TurboTax, they have access to your data. That _is_ reasonable.

          No, it isn't. I don't see why something besides the IRS should have to know what's on my tax return.

          That they have to see the data is simply a limitation of the web model.

          The way I see it, things should work in one of two ways:

          A. The IRS themselves hosts an online page for tax filings. The data is sent over SSL and goes to the IRS, and IRS only.
          B. If for some reason a third part

    • Re:well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by illumin8 (148082) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:14AM (#28740525) Journal

      you need the server to run the apps inhouse rather than out of your control.

      Some things should be mentioned here for those that aren't familiar with Sharepoint.

      I work for a Fortune 15 company and we are required to use Sharepoint, instead of a simple file server, to store all of our Office documents already. Sharepoint is a terribly, terribly flawed "workplace collaboration" software. It's basically a glorified WebDAV server that supports versioning, and also allows people to post little "widgets" like calendars that integrate with Outlook.

      Sharepoint is Microsoft's answer to Mediawiki and other real media sharing web services. In fact, for 99% of all companies, Mediawiki running on an internal server would be much better than Sharepoint, and provide much more functionality, without requiring a copy of MS Office to be installed on everyone's client PC. But, corporate america, in their infinite wisdom, only trusts Microsoft products, so we get stuck with Sharepoint.

      I hate the fact that I'm required to use a Microsoft browser to check out a Microsoft proprietary document, and edit it with a Microsoft proprietary office software package, then check it back in to a Microsoft proprietary server. This solution is the most difficult to use, from a usability standpoint, workflow point of view solution I have ever used before. Mediawiki would be a better solution for 99% of these purposes. I like the ability to just click "Edit" and start editing a page. Microsoft's solution is to keep all editing inside the Office suite, which requires checkout and checkin of each individual document. It's a terrible solution, rooted in an outdated "document centric" methodology.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thethibs (882667)

        Let me understand this:

        • MediaWiki has a word processor that I can use to create large complex documents like Word does, send them to my clients, print them with layouts and typography that makes them a joy to read?
        • MediWiki has a world-class spreadsheet?
        • MediaWiki has a professional drawing package to compete with Visio?
        • MediaWiki has access control so that documents can be made accessible on a "need to know" basis?

        No one is forcing your "Fortune 15" company to use SharePoint and fully-loaded office applicati

        • Re:well duh (Score:5, Informative)

          by jonbryce (703250) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @11:14AM (#28740947) Homepage

          Other than the access control functions, Sharepoint doesn't do any of these things either.

          • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

            Plus the fact that it intigrates with outlook, which has communicator (a secure internal version of Live Messenger), and Live Meeting intigrates with all three.

            Done properly, the Microsoft intigrations greatly improve workflows for many many people. Done poorly, of course, they suck monkey balls, but anything can be that way.

        • Re:well duh (Score:5, Informative)

          by JoshuaDFranklin (147726) <joshuadfranklin.NOSPAMNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday July 18, 2009 @11:18AM (#28740981) Homepage
          You don't understand what Sharepoint is, do you? We rolled out MOSS Sharepoint and used it for a few months. Even Windows users preferred email because the interface made it so painful to find things. Sharepoint does not have any of the functionality you list, either. There is an add-on that includes access control, but guess what? Client machines much be logged into the same domain (or have a a trust set up). In other words, Sharepoint has no access control functionality that can be used any differently than a Windows Server fileshare! It also stores documents in a database, and as you get a lot of documents (say, 1000) performance degrades. Maybe Mediawiki is a bad comparison since it has a completely different feature set, but any business would be better served with an actual document management system like Alfresco. (People also seem obsessed with Sharepoint's "blogs" which have much less functionality than Wordpress.)
          • by enigma48 (143560)

            I'm no expert, but I have to call bullshit on this.

            We've deployed an internet-facing Sharepoint (not MOSS, v3) server that can be used on any random PC. You do need domain credentials for access though, if you've restricted access. It does take more work to set it up this way.

            And the search feature in v3 is currently the quickest search we have. With a few hundred documents, we get search results in around a second - it takes longer to render the page - Google / Windows Desktop Search are a bit slower on

        • Re:well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by popeyethesailor (325796) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @12:20PM (#28741415)

          Well SharePoint doesn't do any of those things, and the Office integration part sucks. Have you seen system requirements for SharePoint for a large organization? Have you administered a non-trivial sized Sharepoint instance? Have you managed a SharePoint version to version migration? It's a PITA, and completely overkill for most applications. The OP was right, most people don't need SharePoint.

          It's the new generation nightmare - almost like MS Access and Lotus Notes rolled into one - easy for some tasks, ridiculously painful for others. And don't get me started on the whole song & dance people go through to build custom applications on top of it...

          Dunning-Kruger indeed.

          • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

            My company has somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million employees. Seems to work pretty well for them, they use sharepoint for all sorts of things.

          • Yeah. I'm a huge fan of Microsoft Office and I despise sharepoint. It's terrible. There is nothing I can think of that's redeeming about it. The interface is bad. The implementation is bad. The features are lacking. It just needs to be completely scrapped.

            You could start from scratch and develop an almost featureless replacement that would perform better just because no feature of sharepoint is actually worthwhile and what is worthwhile is impossible to use.

        • by Blakey Rat (99501)

          Don't forget you can mount Sharepoint pages/folders as network drives, and simply drag&drop files in and out of them like any other network folder. That's a *huge* feature, and there's no way you could replicate that with MediaWiki.

      • Microsoft's solution is to keep all editing inside the Office suite, which requires checkout and checkin of each individual document. It's a terrible solution, rooted in an outdated "document centric" methodology.

        Check out the Wiki or blog functionality in SP. Literally, click Edit, and off you go.
      • by blincoln (592401)

        I hate the fact that I'm required to use a Microsoft browser to check out a Microsoft proprietary document

        SharePoint 2007 works fine with FireFox, assuming you configure FireFox to pass your Windows credentials on and maybe a few other minor configuration changes. I imagine it will work with other modern browsers (in which category I do not include e.g. lynx).

        and edit it with a Microsoft proprietary office software package

        You can store any type of file you like in SharePoint, as long as the administrators d

      • by arkhan_jg (618674)

        We've started using opengoo [opengoo.org] in the 3 man IT department at my school for internal documentation and project management (with calendar, task lists and milestones), assigning a separate workspace for each project. You can upload files (such as photos, office documents) then check them out with versioning, or just write and edit simple documents (in html with an editor straight in it. I've even published one specific workspace to a subcontractor, so they can see where we're at with our end of things with one pa

      • by glitch23 (557124)

        Microsoft's solution is to keep all editing inside the Office suite, which requires checkout and checkin of each individual document.

        Actually, nothing requires you to checkout or checkin a document. Only your company procedures would require those actions in order to prevent someone from modifying a document out of turn. I can attempt to edit a document and if it isn't checked out but someone still edited it then I *am* notified that someone is already editing it. Obviously it would be stupid for me to continue and make changes because they will just be overwritten when the person who started editing before me saves their changes. Now, h

      • Try looking into OneNote 2007 on top of SharePoint

        Seriously. It takes all the headaches out. Auto-synchronizes between team members, keeping a local copy on each person's machine. Everything can be dragged/dropped into it. Images, text, files - it doesn't matter. Easy to annotate content by just typing or drawing on top of stuff. Easy to reorganize just by dragging things around.

        My team was very hesitant to adopt SharePoint for exactly what you were talking about. We (being an MS-oriented company) wer
    • by arose (644256)

      either you run it on their servers and gove third parties access to your data or you pay to run it on your servers.

      ...and pay a third party to access your own server. Welcome to the wonderful world of CAL.

    • by Mista2 (1093071)

      Oh, and you have to be actually be running Windows and IE to access Windows Live services.

  • Move along... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by markdavis (642305)

    Why does the poster sound so surprised by the licensing and prerequisites? It is not like this is new behavior for Microsoft.

    And you can bet it won't work with any other operating system except MS Windows, and won't work with any browser except IE.

    Nothing new to see here... move along...

    • Re:Move along... (Score:5, Informative)

      by sam0737 (648914) <sam@chowc[ ]com ['hi.' in gap]> on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:40AM (#28740305)

      SharePoint (not 2010, i mean the current version) actually works well with Firefox. I have yet to noticed any different when browsing it with Firefox/IE7.

      • by markdavis (642305)

        Although that is good news, I would comment thusly:

        1) Did you try it using Firefox on a non-MS-Windows computer?

        2) The article is really about some type of browser-based MS-Office, not Sharepoint. So even if Sharepoint might work, it doesn't mean MS-Office will (I should think the odds would be much lower)

        3) Microsoft has a nasty habit of allowing things to work with non-MS products/browsers/OS's AT FIRST. Then later that support starts to dwindle and disappear.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          We run a mix of PCs and Macs, and I actually run Ubuntu with a VB version of 7RC. Our SharePoint site works well on PCs with IE7/IE8/Firefox, on the Macs with Firefox (Safari has permission issues and is generally unpleasant), and it even works decently on my Ubuntu with Firefox.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by illumin8 (148082)

        SharePoint (not 2010, i mean the current version) actually works well with Firefox. I have yet to noticed any different when browsing it with Firefox/IE7.

        Actually, Sharepoint works terrible with Firefox. All of the advanced directory and file browsing features are disabled, since Firefox doesn't support the "Internet Explorer is your file browser" functionality that IE does. Sharepoint is basically just a glorified WebDAV server, but trust Microsoft to use proprietary IE only protocols instead of standard

      • Re:Move along... (Score:5, Informative)

        by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:28AM (#28740631)
        SP works with Firefox at a basic level. Any of the higher level functionality (editing in place, slide libraries, checkout/in, etc.) needs IE, ActiveX, and Office.

        The real name for SharePoint is Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. It's an online extension of the Office suite.
      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        It crashes IE7 if you use some Microsoft add-ons - haven't taken time to figure out which one but they're all microsoft. I've not had any luck with Firefox doing anything but downloading docs - and sometimes that doesn't work either. The check out, edit, and upload certainly isn't functional in Firefox 3.07

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tonycheese (921278)
      I'm confused; when did Microsoft claim the suite was going to be free to corporate users? From the PC Pro article,

      Microsoft says the online applications will be free to consumers and small businesses, via Windows Live. Larger businesses can choose to host their own versions of the web applications via their SharePoint server or buy them as a hosted service from Microsoft.

      I found this article from the previous Slashdot summary about Office 2010.

  • Maybe Microsoft has decided to become a hardware company like Apple claims it is. I wonder if the servers will be made in the same Chinese factories that make Macs.

  • A Bad Idea (Score:2, Informative)

    by Techmeology (1426095)
    Cloud computing is a bad idea. It gives software companies an unprecedented level of control over our data. If they decided to up the price of their service, or withdraw it entirely, there is little we can do. Microsoft is famous for manipulative behavior. I would not endow them with this level of trust; nor would any other sane person. If you are looking for an alternative, might I suggest http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org] (many people I know also use it for its superior equation editor, in addition to the fact t
    • Re:A Bad Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:38AM (#28740295)

      Cloud computing is a bad idea.

      Isn't that kind of a sweeping statement? Might it not be a good idea for some people?

      It gives software companies an unprecedented level of control over our data.

      It rather depends what you put on there and what kind of business you are, doesn't it? It also depends on your backup strategy. If they up the price of their service, you can migrate away. If they shut it off completely with no warning... well, you were keeping backups, right?

      I would not endow them with this level of trust

      Who's talking about trust? You use their service and you keep backups. You don't "trust" anyone.

      If you are looking for an alternative, might I suggest http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org] [openoffice.org]

      Please tell me that your whole post wasn't just a plug for a free office suite that everyone on Slashdot is already aware of?

      Anyway, other than saving a few hundred bucks per seat, OpenOffice isn't a "solution". It still requires more support compared to letting Google/MS be your IT department.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Techmeology (1426095)

        It still requires more support compared to letting Google/MS be your IT department.

        I believe you just made my point for me. Letting Google or Microsoft be your IT department is dangerous because they have a vested interest in the decisions your IT department makes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          But at least Google/Microsoft have solutions in place for collaboration and other fun things. Some are even self-hosted if you want to fork over cash. What has OO.o got going for it? A free price tag is about it.
        • by MightyYar (622222)

          they have a vested interest in the decisions your IT department makes.

          Well, I'd certainly hope that any vendor would be interested in the decisions of one of their customers! If they make a bad decision with their service, you move. It's not as if anything that Google offers ties you in. Email? Redirect your domain to one of several billion other providers. Calendaring? Ditto. The office suite? Even you pointed out a free desktop solution.

          I have no experience with the MS version, but if it's not similar to Google's offering it won't go anywhere. Competition is good.

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          You realize that most large companies have either IBM, HP, or Fujitsu running their IT department, right? Mostly off-This is nothing more than a new kind of outsourcing, separating themselves even further from having to deal with IT decisions.

          To protect themselves, they have NDA's, well written contracts, and the teams of lawyers necessary to sue the shit out of the company handling their IT if any of the "dangerous things" you imagine will happen, happen.

          "Cloud Computing" is just the next wave in the move

      • by timeOday (582209)

        It rather depends what you put on there and what kind of business you are, doesn't it? It also depends on your backup strategy. If they up the price of their service, you can migrate away. If they shut it off completely with no warning... well, you were keeping backups, right?

        Well, there goes one of the major savings from cloud computing then. If you can't rely on them to back it up, you still have to host all your data yourself (as backups). For that matter, having all your data sitting in a big tarba

        • by dkf (304284)

          Well, there goes one of the major savings from cloud computing then. If you can't rely on them to back it up, you still have to host all your data yourself (as backups).

          You can buy backup space from another provider if you want, or do it yourself with your own equipment. If you want to do it yourself, you have to remember factoring in the costs of doing it properly, keeping the system up when you need it. If you care hugely about your data (which you might or might not do; not everyone feels the same) then you'll want to keep multiple backups in multiple locations, with at least one under your direct control. But it's up to you to work out how much you're willing to spend

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Well, there goes one of the major savings from cloud computing then.

          How so? Let's say I have 25 users in an office somewhere. Every day I run a script on a single machine which backs up all of their google accounts. This saves me a whole lot of work... no running my own mail server, no updating applications, no backing up individual computers, no license worries, etc. In the utterly ridiculously contrived event that Google shuts down its service overnight and Gears somehow becomes instantly unusable, I still have all of my users email and files. If they absolutely can't wai

  • by hattig (47930) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:36AM (#28740283) Journal

    It's nothing compared to the cost of hiring a team of people to get sharepoint to do what you want it to do, and plenty of companies are happy to pay for them. It's also cheap on a per-user basis - remember how many tens of thousands you are paying them each year - not that this logic extends to buying them a decent computer.

    Some software just works. Other software unnecessarily requires over the top maintenance and setup costs. I've never read anything good about sharepoint apart from the people who got wooed by the salesman over golf/dinner/piss up to buy it. Sadly these people are who controls decision making.

    What's a good free sharepoint alternative, in a single package?

    • What's a good free sharepoint alternative, in a single package?

      That works as 'seamlessly' with MSOffice (the default business suite) as SharePoint? There isn't one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shados (741919)

      SharePoint works fine. And you don't exactly need to pay a bundle for it if you just want document sharing and collabortion (since Sharepoint Services is a component of Windows Server. Only the souped up "enhanced" version costs, and has a million pieces to support).

      I run Sharepoint on a one server virtual machine, and probably have an higher than average load on it, and its fine, and I definately don't need to maintain it much at all. And at work we're running one of the largest non-Microsoft sharepoint fa

      • by Shados (741919)

        just want document sharing and collabortion

        Oh boy, talk about a typo I made there... the zealots will have a field day with this one. Whoops.

    • What's a good free sharepoint alternative, in a single package?

      SharePoint is part of the MS Office system.

      What you buy - or rent - from Microsoft is a sophisticated - scalable - turnkey solution for a business of any size.

      If you want to be competitive, you have to see how well the parts fit together.

      New Features in SharePoint 2010:

      The Ribbon.

      Ribbon icons will now allow users to check in and check out documents as they are viewing document libraries. Companies will be able to customize the ribbon and even

  • by syousef (465911) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @09:42AM (#28740315) Journal

    ...priceless.

    For everything else, there's Microsoft.

    I can't ever see myself storing my personal documents, especially financial ones, on some remote server or "cloud". Fuck that. Take your orafice online and stick it.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Yes, Microsoft is obviously the first company to think of this concept. Make sure you assign all blame to them and not, for example, to Google.

  • ..."You get what you pay for."

  • Hidden? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UnderLoK (552056)
    You need SharePoint to do that now... This guy obviously is out of the loop. Also the last time I checked while a business CAN use Google Docs, that isn't the business solution. Sounds like a troll report, nothing else.
  • Source? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamesl (106902) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:16AM (#28740541)

    And the source of this important information on pricing of an unreleased product?
    A Microsoft spokesperson told me ...

    Microsoft spokespersons with the knowledge and authority to speak about such things have a name and title.

  • by themeparkphoto (1049810) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @10:18AM (#28740555)
    Google has paid services too with similar pricing models. While there is a free "Google for domains" that gives you docs, etc, on your domain, there are additional paid tiers of support.
  • by thethibs (882667) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @11:19AM (#28740991) Homepage
    Wow! Microsoft is selling its software! Be still my heart!
  • They have salaries to pay.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Saturday July 18, 2009 @11:45AM (#28741173) Homepage

    A Microsoft spokesperson told me that customers will need to buy a SharePoint server, which ranges from $4,400 plus CALs, or $41,000 with all CALs included, if they want to share documents created using the online version of Office 2010."

    I am so happy to be working in an office free of the MS strangle hold. CALs always struck me as the most insidious of their macabre licensing circus. First you pay for the software, then you pay again so people can use it. What a racket. For the $41,000 you're paying in CALs I can cover an employee salary for 8 months (that would be one of the lower level people).

    We don't have any problems getting our work done at the office without Microsoft. We have corporate Gmail and use GoogleDocs, so far with zero problems. If we have super sekret corporate information we can't trust to Google, we can store them in the truecrypt file container. We can send out pdf's to clients and customers, everyone can read them and they format just fine.

    Plus I really like that we don't have to fit either our business processes or development processes to MSFT models. It's a lot more open and a lot more productive. You don't realize how much time you spend dancing on Microsoft's string until you get away from them. And, as an extra bonus, I can blow your ROI and TCO numbers out of the water. Just about any metric you want to use. And I never have to make the painful choice between layoffs and new servers. We can upgrade on our schedule, patch on our schedule, work the way we want to. If we need more capacity, we just stand it up. If we don't need it we can turn it off and it's not wasted money sitting there doing nothing.

    And it's not just a small office. If you set it up right, you could do the same thing with almost any size organization. The only consistent pain in the rear problem we have regularly are those damn webinar programs. GoToMeeting and crap like that. Many of those are Windows only. That's kind of annoying.

    • by markdavis (642305)

      Hello, fellow non-MS-Windows site

      >GoToMeeting and crap like that. Many of those are Windows only. That's kind of annoying.

      Yeah, it is more than KIND OF annoying. Sometimes it is extremely annoying. Especially when 3/4 of those stupid webinars are nothing but some slide show that could have been done in plain HTML + Javascript, or Flash if they REALLY had to have something fancy.

      And it is further annoying that sites like "GoToMeeting" base their whole product on things like VNC, which is FOSS and multip

  • I use Sharepoint at work, and... well, it's like what you'd expect if someone had a third-hand conversation about what a Wiki was like, wrote up a Powerpoint about it, translated into Portuguese using a dictionary written by someone who knew neither Portuguese or English, translated back using Babelfish, and given to a bunch of ex-mainframe programmers to implement.

    It's ugly, cumbersome, even if you use IE (god help you if you're using Firefox or Safari). Using a Sharepoint server is going to knock 30% off

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      That's cause it's not a Wiki.

      It's only bad if your admin is shit. I'm assuming you set it up? ;)

      • by argent (18001)

        That's cause it's not a Wiki.

        Yeh, and Lotus Notes isn't a web page, but I can describe Lotus Notes as a web application if the web was based on database replication instead of HTTP and you understand the point of the analogy (well, I hope you do). Sharepoint is attempting to address the same problem space that a wiki does, and it's doing it from a completely wrong direction, and it's doing it with the wrong tools, with the goal of micromanaging things that shouldn't be micromanaged, and with a user interfac

    • No, it's banking on the stupidity of "decision makers", a strategy which appears to have worked quite successfully thus far.

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