100 million licences bought for Microsoft SharePoint

4 Mar 2008

SEATTLE – Microsoft’s enterprise collaboration software SharePoint has emerged as the fastest-growing server product in the company’s history, chairman Bill Gates said yesterday, revealing that over 100 million licences have been sold so far.

Gates, who is planning to retire as chairman this June after 30 years at the helm of Microsoft, said his vision is to see SharePoint achieve the same ubiquity in the business and academic worlds as the company’s Office product family.

“We’re going to see a massive amount of innovation in this area and we’re going to make it easier for young workers or a person with a vision of how a team innovates to create new collaborative websites.”

Gates went on: “This is our fastest-growing server product. We’ve achieved US$1bn in sales and this year we’ve 100 million licences sold.” He added some 17,000 firms are using SharePoint to tackle pressing information management needs.

To put this in context, Gates said there are over one billion PCs in the world. “There are 500 million of these with licensed use of Microsoft Office, and another 500 million that aren’t licensed.

“Achieving 100 million licence sales for a product that’s about information sharing puts it in a different league than constituent higher-priced products. This technology should be adopted by companies as a horizontal tool that lets sites spring up in a broad fashion.”

Gates said the ability for information workers to self-provision websites that other workers can collaborate on creates a new paradigm in the business world. “Email isn’t for everything. This is about making it easier to create websites and connect together various pieces of information.

“For example, in terms of business intelligence, there’s a rich visualisation capability in Excel that can be published to websites. As a result, executives can run software wherever they like and you can have servers talking to servers.

“When you have the internet where the internal network used to be, you can enjoy real trade offs in terms of customisation and resource management,” Gates said.

In related news, the company said it will expand the range of online services available to businesses, including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.

By John Kennedy