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Microsoft Unbundles Sharepoint Services From Server 2008

Microsoft is separating a key collaboration technology from future releases of Windows Server 2008, but will offer it as a free download.

Starting with release candidate 1 of Windows Server 2008, Microsoft will offer Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 only as a separate download, and not as part of the software package, according to Julius Sinkevicius, senior product manager in the Windows Server Division.

Windows Sharepoint Services, a free subset of Office Sharepoint Server that includes limited collaboration, social computing and document management functionality, is also a strategically vital application development platform for Microsoft's .Net technologies.

Sharepoint Services 3.0, the most recent revision, was previously part of the beta and release candidate 0 versions of Windows Server 2008, the latter of which launched in late September.

"Basically, we made this decision to allow customers to most conveniently obtain the technology while allowing Microsoft to have flexibility in the Windows SharePoint Services development process," Sinkevicius wrote in a Monday entry on the Windows Server Division Weblog.

Steven Mulka, a partner with SIS, a Duluth, Ga.-based solution provider, believes technical delays could be forcing Microsoft to separate Sharepoint Services to avoid delaying the release of Windows Server 2008, which the vendor has already pushed back until the first quarter of next year.

"Sharepoint is important as part of a core operating system and functionality, and for it not to be included as part of the OS does raise some questions," said Mulka. "It seems counterproductive to the adoption of the technology for Microsoft not to make it available installed and pre-configured so that people can easily use it."

But Tim Huckaby, CEO at Interknowlogy, a Microsoft Gold Certified partner in Carlsbad, Calif., says Microsoft is simply following the same path it did with later release candidates of Windows Server 2003, when the vendor also removed Sharepoint Services from the software.

"It was easier from a distribution and development standpoint, since Microsoft could be more agile on both fronts, rather than shipping on the physical media," Huckaby said.

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