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SharePoint Could Drive Enterprises’ Office 2010 Plans

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Microsoft will launch Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 on Wednesday in what the company says is a major part of the biggest wave of enterprise products that it has released so far.

However, key to volume purchasers making the most of their Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Office 2010 investment is another important product — the SharePoint collaboration server — according to a report from analyst firm Directions on Microsoft.

“There are a lot of interesting features [in Office 2010] for working in groups that really benefit from SharePoint 2010,” Rob Helm, managing vice president of research at the firm told “It’s the hub around which a lot of decisions are going to turn.”

For example, SharePoint 2010 enables concurrent document coauthoring in Office 2010. Additionally, the Office Web Apps — versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote that run on the Web and come with Office 2010 — can be used to edit documents hosted on SharePoint sites without having Office 2010 installed, the reportsaid.

Microsoft announced in March that it would ship Office 2010 for business customers on May 12, about a month before it plans to release the product for consumer purchase.

Two other components of Microsoft’s 2010 product refresh, Visio 2010 and Project 2010, are also slated to ship on Wednesday.

Also on the list of products in the latest wave of updates is Visual Studio 2010, which shipped in April, as well as SQL Server 2008 R2, which is set to ship this month. In addition, Microsoft shipped Exchange 2010 in November.

Of course, on the leading edge of the wave, Microsoft shipped enterprise releases of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2last summer.

“SharePoint technology is also used in the Search Server enterprise search product, which is being updated at the same time, as well as in a new high-end enterprise search product called FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint (also called FAST for SharePoint),” the report said.

The report also described a myriad of tweaks and add-ins meant to make SharePoint 2010 more compelling to corporate customers. These include updates that enable Access developers to create databases that SharePoint 2010 can host, and new multitenant features that help SharePoint host larger numbers of users.

Project and Visio also benefit from new features when tied to SharePoint 2010, including Web application access similar to that in the core Office 2010 Web Apps.

That all adds up to SharePoint 2010 playing a large role in helping IT professionals make decisions about both SharePoint and Office 2010.

“Once they’ve [customers have] made their SharePoint plans, a lot of their Office 2010 plans will fall into place,” Helm said.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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