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Microsoft May Be Inflating SharePoint Stats 225

ericatcw writes "Taking a page out of McDonalds 'billions and billions served,' Microsoft says it reaps $1.3 billion a year from more than 100 million users of its SharePoint collab app. But some suggest that the figures are consciously inflated by Microsoft sales tactics in order to boost the appearance of momentum for the platform, reports Computerworld. A recent survey suggests that less than a fourth of users licensed for SharePoint actually use it. SharePoint particularly lags as a platform for Web sites, according to the same survey, a situation Microsoft hopes to fix with the upcoming SharePoint 2010."
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Microsoft May Be Inflating SharePoint Stats

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  • by WaywardGeek ( 1480513 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:47PM (#29801985) Journal

    While I'm a bit of a Microsoft fan, I just can't see putting my data on their servers. It'll go Sidekick for sure.

  • by NoYob ( 1630681 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:56PM (#29802063)

    We all know (don't we?) that web metrics are inflated by mostly everybody (hits and unique visitors counting search engines as real users, ....

    Well, there's another side. Some actually under report the numbers to give that exclusive, elite, snob appeal; which then just adds to the appeal, which then more people sign on to use it. Example? I think that's what the BSD folks are doing.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:59PM (#29802107)
    That might be so but that's not what MS is doing. First of it's bundling Sharepoint with other sales and counting that as Sales. "If you buy this Enterprise license, we'll throw in Sharepoint." That inflates the number of sales of companies who are actually buying Sharepoint outright as opposed to getting as part of another sale. Then they are counting all the users of that Enterprise license as Sharepoint users whether or not they actually use it.
  • Not Surprised (Score:3, Interesting)

    by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:05PM (#29802169)
    Sharepoint is a honking great pile of meaningless crap that just creates costs for everyone at every turn. The last I looked at it you *have* to run it as a default site, so that means you need yet another server and it's part of the panopoly of ridiculous deployment shite coming from the MSDN lunatics at the company that you can use to blow your foot off with. There is also a ton of confusion as to how it should actually be used, and considering that it is sold to enterprises pretty much exclusively then people scratching their heads over how to use it and what it is actually does is not good. What's worse is that people don't want to learn what it is for either. If someone feels they need a CMS or something then they will go out and get one.

    Because it only seems to be sold to 'enterprises' that means that the wider world isn't using it at all and many software developers won't be writing for it either. As a result it has no mindshare whatsoever. I was always suspicious that there was any kind of real momentum behind it.
  • Re:Screw Sharepoint (Score:3, Interesting)

    by enzo_romeo ( 756095 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:18PM (#29802297)
    I agree, its too complicated to use efficiently its not intuitive at all. As a developer, I hate using it and building sites for it because its not easy to use and damn ugly. I've taken a couple of courses on it but its one of those things that if you don't use it, you forget how to do things. I think the only people that use it and like it on the organizations I've been with are Project managers. Everyone else just avoids using it all together. Funny, in a regional web developer (50 people) meeting about SP we all took a poll on if anyone had changed the default look and feel from the blue banners. Nobody had. It was basically a show and tell of horror stories of how long it takes to get it up and running (avg 8 months) and how crappy the manuals are (inaccurate and convoluted). My current employer is trying to set it up for an intranet for 12,000 employees and we've spent about 10 months on it and have to start from scratch since the route we took didn't quite work out. Its a cash cow for MS. They make a ton of money selling this piece of crap. I'm glad I don't have it at home.
  • by Rewind ( 138843 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:22PM (#29802339)
    Do you have source on this at all? Don't get me wrong, it could be very true, but some Google-fu of 360 sales numbers current gen console sales didn't show anything like this. The closest thing I really found it crazy 360 sale numbers was some estimate from EA and EA isn't really Microsoft so I guess they can say whatever they want there really. I have also never seen huge piles of 360s sitting in stores.

    The only really silly sales claim I have seen this gen was a few from Sony []
  • Re:Screw Sharepoint (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:31PM (#29802425) Homepage

    It's a nice IDEA, but in practice, it just gets in the way.

    O-M-G it's Clippy for web servers. It looks like you're trying to post that document on a secure intranet....


  • Re:Screw Sharepoint (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:45PM (#29802571) Journal

    Well, we use Sharepoint at our company, a reasonably large global SI. I see it as a necessary pain, myself. We share a lot of material across more than thirty countries, and I don't think sending that much SMB directory detail around to do the same thing via file shares is a particularly good use of time or bandwidth. Just listing directories on a server - geez, even the servers themselves - is a slow process when you're on the other side of the world, and we have a decent networking budget and some very, very good network people.

    That said, it's still a slow and uncomfortable alternative. The UI is a bit below par for anyone who has used a decent content management system, but I don't think that's really the problem. The problem is it's slow. You can learn the clicks if the response is good, but delays get people all bound up in navigation.

    It's based on SQL Server as a storage medium. That's a decent enough database, but it's still an RDB, and the delays in setting up connections to that database, plus all the TCP overhead bouncing from router to router in establishing that connection adds seconds to your session, seconds you wouldn't feel if the files were stored locally (to say nothing of the compression-decompression overheads).

    I think there's a fundamental misconfiguration to most Sharepoint sites, and that's the major source of its clunkyness. Using a database designed for speedy delivery of TPC-sized transactions, and using it to store whole large documents may be the best way to get Microsoft-based content available on a Microsoft-shaped browser perhaps, but it seems to me there's a lot of indexing and leaf balancing to get in the way of really crisp performance unless you're very clever with the database and have a lot more RAM available to cache it than appears rational on the surface.

    I'm not sure if there's a lot of scope to improve that, but some would certainly be appreciated. I think it needs a custom database designed to purpose, not the general purpose SQL Server engine. Just a feeling* I have.

    Cutting the number of hops somehow would help - perhaps a store-local and replicate model would do a better job; something like the block-level geographically distinct replication of fault tolerant disk farms perhaps (Didn't Exchange public folders work on this principle once?) but I don't know how I'd go about doing that.

    *A feeling perhaps helped along by 10 years as a DBA, and a year or so as a Sharepoint SME and a few years as a network engineer (basically I know just barely enough to be dangerous with it - I could be old and out of touch).

  • by Simulant ( 528590 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:48PM (#29802601) Journal

    "you would LEARN what its good for, and make money SHOWING your clients what they can do with it. "

    Ok, let me rephrase that. "I can't figure out what it's good for with regard to my clients."

    And I can't. I know what it does. I just can't, with a straight face, anyway, recommend it as a way to improve anything they do without a) increasing costs, b) increasing complexity, and c) limiting their options. The customer isn't always an idiot and they won't always spend money on something they don't really need or want. (except in the case where it is bundled)

    My point was.... MS is probably counting all of those unused, bundled installations as users.

    Oh... and as it stands, we make a comfortable living selling non-MS solutions, more specifically tailored to our customer's needs.
    The ruthless capitalist in me thinks that pushing SharePoint would probably just cut into our margins.

    Not that I'm a ruthless capitalist or anything.

  • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:59PM (#29802697)
    What I find interesting is that this story shows up on the opening day of the (sold out) MS SharePoint Conference 2009...
    Vegas Baby!
  • Re:Screw Sharepoint (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jazzkat ( 901547 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @09:47PM (#29803045)
    "There is nothing wrong with SharePoint. It has a reasonable learning curve, you just have to invest a little bit of time into actually learning how to productively use it."

    I spent 4 weeks learning about SharePoint. There are two tiers of functionality: that you can get from plain jane Sharepoint, and that you get from MOSS (Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server).

    Unless you fork over the money for MOSS, you do not get any functionality over what you would get from Plone, an open source product. As an added bonus, Plone is far easier for non-technical folks to use than Sharepoint - so instead of dedicating IT resources to creating sites, you push that cost center off to the users and free up your resources for something else.

    MOSS is prohibitively expensive. For 2500 seats, you're looking at around $400k to start plus $130k/year.

    For (far less than) that amount, you could hire a developer to add MOSS-like features to Plone. The MOSS features really don't produce enough ROI to justify the expense, unless you are looking at adding third party BI applications (many of which require MOSS) that may or may not produce ROI by their own merits.
  • Re:Screw Sharepoint (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @09:51PM (#29803089)

    if you glance at a program, decide not to bother figuring out how to use it and determine that it sucks only because it's put out by Microsoft then you don't have much of an opinion.

    You're describing most of the comments here today. I know that there must be some technical and usability failings, but if Slashdot had a filter to scrub out anecdotal MS hate ramblings, there would not be much left in this story thread.

    We use SharePoint, and as a *user*, I really don't have any issues with it, it beats what we had before here at AMC (Air Mobility Command). There are some minor things that I don't like, but nothing that would push me over the edge into a frothy mouthed frenzy. For those that loath Microsoft, there are alternatives, TikiWiki [] looks quite nice...

  • by Anarchitektur ( 1089141 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @11:06PM (#29803637)
    I'm a consultant for an Microsoft Gold Partner VAR for one of the Microsoft business applications, and a lot of times the talking heads at Microsoft will go on and on about the "Microsoft Stack" and how CRM can integrate with SharePoint and all this kind of stuff, but in all the years that I have been working in this field, I have never once encountered an implementation of SharePoint at a client, nor have I had any requests to do one.

    That does not mean that there isn't interest at a lot of these companies for SharePoint, though. It's just that the total cost after purchasing the licenses and then paying someone to implement it properly is too cost prohibitive for the types of companies that would benefit from using it.

    Furthermore, there really are not very many "guru-level" people on SharePoint. There's barely any "adequate" talent for SharePoint... I hear it all the time from a lot of my peers that there's not even anyone out in the field trying to get a practice started up around it in this very large, very wealthy (per captia) city. Excuses range from "lack of demand" to "no one to do the work", to the ever popular "everyone is only seeing the tip of the iceberg" that Microsoft is so apt to spin.

    So, that's my perspective as someone in the realm of that field... whatever that is worth.
  • Re:Screw Sharepoint (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @11:09PM (#29803657) Journal

    FWIW ... In my experience SharePoint is a flexible, feature-rich, capable tool. I was skeptical at first, mostly because I just didn't feel like learning it. But as a Project Manager I haven't found a better tool to replace the services you get from SharePoint.

    And a project manager may be the most complex user Microsoft has. When you set it up right, MS Project Server has a lot of really useful, interesting integration products. And it uses Sharepoint. With that you can push tasks to users anywhere on the Active Directory and have them show up as Outlook tasks. People can update their tasks inside Outlook and have them posted to the project schedule as actuals, with a very low click overhead. Possibly their best, if not their most popular product.

    That little trick involves Project, Outlook client, Exchange, Sharepoint (full MOSS), SQL Server, Windows Server and probably a VM to boot. In fact, I once had a single DVD with all that on it as a virtual server, as a demo system. Very complex little interplay there. You have to see it to believe it. Like the products or not, there are some good minds working on them.

  • Re:Screw Sharepoint (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IMightB ( 533307 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:12AM (#29804045) Journal

    I concur regarding tikiwiki, we migrated from tikiwiki to twiki, which seems much better so far. I haven't delved into twiki's code, but that's because I haven't had to.

    So at my company Corporate uses sharepoint 2006 which is abysmal. search stinks, pretty much the only thing it's good at is storing/sharing word documents, pp presentations, etc.

    The techs use twiki, which is much nicer.

  • by fragMasterFlash ( 989911 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:20AM (#29804073)
    Every organization I have dealt with since the dawn of SharePoint still has 90% of the sites every created up and 'available' even if they haven't had any content updates in the last 5 years. Counting 'zombie' SharePoint sites is a nice way to pad your deployment stats, IMHO. SharePoint is overkill for dead projects where no one will ever look at anything other than the executive summary of your lessons learned document.
  • Re:It doesn't crash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ta bu shi da yu ( 687699 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:32AM (#29805377) Homepage

    Precisely. SharePoint is remarkably difficult to integrate and setup. I blame it on their insistence on using Integrated Security. Anyway, that's just my impression, I'm no SharePoint expert.

  • Sharepoint Designer (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:21AM (#29806775)
    is a piece of junk. It constantly freezes, crashes, takes several minutes doing something while not refreshing the GUI, and is excessively slow. I can't say much better for SharePoint itself.

Happiness is twin floppies.