Microsoft touts Sharepoint 2.0

Microsoft Corp. on Saturday offered a glimpse of the next version of Sharepoint Portal Server boasting improved collaboration capabilities.

Known as Sharepoint 2.0, the product will have close technical ties to Microsoft's Office 11, not due until mid-2003, as well as a new product called Small Business Server codenamed Bobcat, also due to ship next year.

Speaking at Microsoft's Fusion partner conference here, Jeff Raikes, group vice president of productivity and business services, said one of the features in Sharepoint 2.0 is a capability that allows users to search both by individuals and team sites.

The product will also include Sharepoint Team Services 2.0, which Raikes showed off during a keynote at last month's TechXNY conference in New York.

Playing to the reseller and systems integrators attending the keynote, Rakes said the upcoming version will include templates designed specifically so partners can more easily customize right out of the box.

''We think this product will offer better access to both information and people. Users will be able to set up a Web page on the fly for a specific group or project, and partners can set up additional sites quickly in order to collaborate.

Microsoft has sold over seven million seats of Sharepoint over the course of its first year of availability, Raikes said.

The upcoming server is positioned to be at the heart of Microsoft's Intranet and Portal Go-To-Market series of solutions. The company plans to launch its Go-To-Market campaigns aimed at pushing .Net solutions, company officials said.

Raikes continued Microsoft's steady drum beat for the company's upcoming Tablet PC, showing off a number of its capabilities most notably its improving handwriting recognition capabilities.

He also demonstrated what he referred as "snippets'' which, in one example Raikes demonstrated, allows users to draw a circle around text on a Web site using an electromagnetic pen and forwarding that image via email.

Raikes said over 300 ISVs have downloaded Microsoft's toolkit and are working on applications that exploit the Tablet PC's capabilities, including Adobe Systems Inc. and Groove Networks Inc. He added that as many as 15 hardware manufacturers have promised to deliver versions of the Tablet PC over the next year.

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