Microsoft Offering SharePoint Designer For Free

SharePoint Designer 2007, which previously cost $299.95, lets companies without coding experience build custom portals, extranets, intranets, Internet-facing sites and collaboration offerings on the SharePoint platform.

SharePoint is a major cash cow for both Microsoft and its channel partners, representing a billion-dollar business with more than 100 million licenses sold to date, said Tom Rizzo, senior director of SharePoint, in a video interview posted recently on Microsoft's Web site.

By making SharePoint Designer 2007 available to SharePoint customers as a free download, Microsoft hopes that SharePoint customers will continue to push the possibilities of the SharePoint platform.

For Microsoft solution providers such as Ken Winell, CEO of ExpertCollab, a SharePoint-focused solution provider in Florham Park, N.J., the move is long overdue.

Sponsored post

"SharePoint's out-of-the-box functionality includes ready-to-go solutions, but unless you can customize them, the adoption curve is substantially lower," Winell said.

System integrators will continue to use Visual Studio to develop robust SharePoint solutions, as it offers developers more capabilities, but SharePoint Designer 2007 offers partners a way to expedite implementations without incurring any cost, Winell added.

Steven Mulka, a partner with SIS, a Duluth, Ga.-based solution provider, says the move to offer SharePoint Designer 2007 for free is a sign of the value Microsoft places in the work partners are doing around SharePoint.

"In the past we've had to sell SharePoint Designer separately to our clients, which was another line item on the quote, but now it's part of the overall solution," said Mulka, adding that he'd also like to see Microsoft roll Office InfoPath 2007 into SharePoint.