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Microsoft May Be Inflating SharePoint Stats

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the pay-no-attention-to-the-man dept.

Microsoft 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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225 comments

Well, I guess it's business as usual... (5, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#29801873)

I don't use Share Point and I don't especially like Microsoft but just to put things in perspective:

We all know (don't we?) that web metrics are inflated by mostly everybody (hits and unique visitors counting search engines as real users, .NET tags added to user agent just because you used windows update to update your computer, etc. etc.)

A good rule of thumb could be to divide any of those numbers at least by 2 to get a better picture of realty.

Re:Well, I guess it's business as usual... (4, Interesting)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 4 years ago | (#29801985)

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.

You! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802039)

I wanna take you to a gay bar,
I wanna take you to a gay bar,
I wanna take you to a gay bar, gay bar, gay bar

Re:Well, I guess it's business as usual... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802005)

Or maybe they lied so egregiously as to make it sound fishy, with the hopes that they would get free publicity by way of such articles?

But that would be stupid (like a fox)

Re:Well, I guess it's business as usual... (2, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Well, I guess it's business as usual... (4, Insightful)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802237)

We all know (don't we?) that web metrics are inflated by mostly everybody (hits and unique visitors counting search engines as real users, .NET tags added to user agent just because you used windows update to update your computer, etc. etc.)

Irrelevant. SharePoint isn't an end-user application; it's a web-based application, and is mostly implemented on intranets. The number of SharePoint users can't be measured by web metrics. SharePoint is occasionally used on internet-facing sites, but it is licensed differently.

Microsoft is claiming they have sold some amount of SharePoint client licenses and therefore have that many SharePoint users; the argument is the number of actual users is significantly smaller than the number of sold licenses.

Re:Well, I guess it's business as usual... (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802619)

Eh, if that's what they're doing, who cares? They know how many licenses they've sold, and they know how many seats those licenses cover. They can't possibly know how many of those seats are actively used, so of course the only useful data they can share is the first set and ignore the second.

Saying they have "millions of users" isn't particularly meaningful, but at least in this case it's not really deceptive, either.

I am stuck in this endless recursion (2, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802267)

A good rule of thumb could be to divide any of those numbers at least by 2 to get a better picture of realty.

I applied your correction factor to the number 2 you mentioned and that changed the correction factor to 1. Now that means your correction factor is back to 2. Now I am stuck in endless recursion and am going to run out stack and coredump.

Re:Well, I guess it's business as usual... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802575)

Keep in mind that the SBS version of windows server comes with Sharepoint. We have about 300 clients with SBS servers and 2 of them use sharepoint.If MS is counting all those, it's GOT to be a MUCH smaller number than they claim. I would believe 25M, and of those, probably 2M use it heavily.

Those Numbers are correct, Seriously! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802623)

Licensed copies of the software $100,000
Software and development products $500,000.
Training. $150,000

Hire more people. $1,000,000
New hardware $500,000.

Billions from thousands

Then start developing. 10 times as long to get a product out.

So how much would a GNU project cost now?

Ubuntu server Free
Web Page Tutuorial for setting up Joomullalalala :) Free
Hardware, probably donated junk Free
Cost of operation, Electricity.

Hone those OSS skills boy's. With the Whitehouse bailing out mofo's left and right they'll need to cut costs.

There is no wizard for starting a new sharepoint application in Visual Studio.
There is no deployment wizard for deploying a sharepoint solution.
There is no live debugger for debugging a sharepoint webpart.

You thought Vista liked RAM.

There's your billions.

Re:Well, I guess it's business as usual... (2, Interesting)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802697)

What I find interesting is that this story shows up on the opening day of the (sold out) MS SharePoint Conference 2009...
Where?
Vegas Baby!

Re:Well, I guess it's business as usual... (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803037)

When work pays for travel, we take it. Vegas to be marketed at by a company? Sure. California for a Visual Basic conference? Sign me up!
 
Don't ever assume that people go to a conference somewhere because they want/like/care about the product or the conference. A week out of town, expenses paid, and nobody to make sure you actually go? That's what business is all about baby!

let me say: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29801903)

Tucker Max FAIL!!!!

A big company inflating numbers to look better? (3, Funny)

toygeek (473120) | more than 4 years ago | (#29801905)

That's just preposterous! I can tell you for sure that over 5 trillion servers run sharepoint, and not one of them has ever crashed.

Re:A big company inflating numbers to look better? (0)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802013)

That's just preposterous! I can tell you for sure that over 5 trillion servers run *from* sharepoint, and not one of *those* has ever crashed.

Fixed that for ya.

Re:A big company inflating numbers to look better? (4, Funny)

overThruster (58843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802357)

Why, we have the data right here on our SharePoint site--just a moment while I search for it. That's funny, all the search hits are completely irrelevant. Ah, thank goodness, someone sent me an email with the link or I never would have found it.

Error: Access Denied
You are currently logged in as: BORG\Microserf

Request Access
Use this form to request access to the resource.
You are currently logged in as: BORG\Microserf
Type your request, and then click Send Request.

Aw hell, let me see if someone posted it to the wiki...

Inflating != misrepresenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29801993)

Saying that they make that much money is not inaccurate, if they in fact do make that much money.

I don't see in the summary (and had enough of the anti-MS posts for the day to read deeper) any relation between revenue/profits and userbase. Of course, not everyone that buys the bundle is going to use it.

Also, as far as SharePoint being pointed externally to the web, I do not think many people use it with that intent, as it seems mostly useful as a proprietary (read: internal only) knowledge base, and data repository.

Screw Sharepoint (5, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802001)

Seriously. It's overly complex, and doesn't really make anything easier for the vast majority of users. It's a nice IDEA, but in practice, it just gets in the way. It's one of those things that big companies buy and use thinking that it will solve their communication problems, when in fact all it does is create different and worse problems.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (1, Insightful)

craenor (623901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802075)

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.

If you're stuck with it because your company bought it and expects you to use it, then my honest advice is to, man-up, take a training course [dell.com] and learn to use it.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802099)

"Man up" and take a training course?

Get fucked you fat, rural, rustard Texan piece of fucking shit.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802159)

Even for non-software projects, Redmine [redmine.org] is superior in almost every way. The only downside is that it's written in Ruby, which means you'll need a somewhat hefty server if you're going to have more than a handful of users using it simultaneously.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (0)

kckman (885561) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802703)

Even for non-software projects, Redmine [redmine.org] is superior in almost every way. The only downside is that it's written in Ruby, which means you'll need a somewhat hefty server if you're going to have more than a handful of users using it simultaneously.

SharePoint leverages Active Directory for those corporations that choose to use it internally. Does Redmine? A brief look at the link tells me no.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (1)

CyDharttha (939997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802853)

A brief look at the link showed 'Multiple LDAP authentication support'. So the answer to your question is yes, Redmine can leverage Active Directory services.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (5, Insightful)

1729 (581437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802167)

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.

If you're stuck with it because your company bought it and expects you to use it, then my honest advice is to, man-up, take a training course [dell.com] and learn to use it.

Gee, you don't by any chance work for Dell [google.com] , do you?

Re:Screw Sharepoint (0)

craenor (623901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802293)

It was the only training class I knew about. *shrugs* Google another one. My point is the same, 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.

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.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (4, Insightful)

DrWho42 (558107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802753)

I agree that SharePoint sucks, and I took a training course. I work for a large corp that has migrated all of the intranet to SP and my colleagues and I pretty much universally dislike it. It's slow, bloated, and the access controls are like a Soviet bureaucracy. If the only software that you use is Microsoft, then it can be a useful tool. But if you try to deal with Sharepoint using Firefox or Linux, it is extremely frustrating. If you are accustomed to the openness and speed of mediawiki then SP feels like a dog. I'll be setting up a Wave server as soon as google releases the source.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29803007)

> SharePoint sucks,
It could be worse, you could be forced to use Lotus Notes or Plumbtree,

Re:Screw Sharepoint (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803031)

Just wait until you make a mistake, and it puts your user object in the gulag OU...

In my(admittedly somewhat limited) experience with it, sharepoint seemed like a mess. Pretty much the slipshod bastard child of a wiki full of office documents and a half-assed collaboration/versioning mechanism. It probably feels like the second coming of Raptor Jesus if your collaboration mechanism has traditionally been either "just map to 'new project docs' on 'data2' and remember to number your new version" or "let me forward you the email chain and attachments"; but it was not a pleasant change after using real tools.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (4, Interesting)

jazzkat (901547) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (2, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 [tikiwiki.org] looks quite nice...

Re:Screw Sharepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29803147)

TikiWiki is not nice. I speak as an ex-TikiWiki admin and user. It's pretty much just a bunch of badly integrated and badly put together modules. It lacks consistency. The code quality is abysmal. They have had a ton of security problems. Put up a tikiwiki site and watch all the scanners come and try dozens (literally) of exploits against your site. Also, the functionality is bland and half-assed. I wanted to like it so much, but it isn't good. It's hard to deeply customize without changing code, and extremely annoying to upgrade, especially if you have changed code. Avoid it, or contribute code to it. Personally, I think it needs to be rewritten with a coherent plan.

Bing! (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803291)

That had to hurt.

You shill! (0, Flamebait)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802319)

You are a shill. Honest advice? First disclose your ties and vested interests. Do you get a cut of share point sales too? Gregory Bullard?

Re:You shill! (0)

craenor (623901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802365)

I don't work in sales. I get no commission.

It's not like my life's a secret, a simple google search will tell you what games I play, my website, where I work and more. I had the option of posting anonymously, if I wanted to shill, I would have. I had a training link for SharePoint handy, so I threw it out there.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802807)

Actual experience with a Microsoft product disqualifies you from talking about it on /. :)

Re:Screw Sharepoint (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802087)

I have definately used more user-friendly content management systems.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (1)

Leynos (172919) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802133)

Examples please. Thanks.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802545)

Drupal

Re:Screw Sharepoint (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802221)

I've used at least one less user-friendly content management system - Tridion.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802093)

It's a hunk of shit.

Others have been there, matured, have commercial benefactors, cost less and are more maintainable. Why on earth would anyone use SharePoint?

Re:Screw Sharepoint (0)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802183)

It's just like a Wiki, but you don't have to type in an unusable, confusing code. It's a tremendous idea, and shame on everybody else in the industry for doing nothing to attempt to match its usability.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803173)

Aren't there Wikis that do that already?

Re:Screw Sharepoint (3, Interesting)

enzo_romeo (756095) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Screw Sharepoint (2, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802425)

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....

RUUUUUN!!!!

Re:Screw Sharepoint (4, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802571)

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).

two words: (0, Troll)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802007)

Fuck SharePoint

Ok, three more words:

in the asshole

Re:two words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802147)

I don't understand, how am I supposed to fuck SharePoint in Steve Ballmer???

All web statistics are lies (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802035)

Mozilla and many other web apps counts every download as a user, ignoring the many users who had to download it multiple times because the download kept failing due to timeouts from their excessively overloaded servers.

Re:All web statistics are lies (2, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

MS Lies About Their Xbox Sales. No Surprise (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802043)

Both Nintendo and Sony report actual 'sold to customer' for their sales numbers.

Microsoft, however, consistently lies about their sales figures for the Xbox by using 'shipped to retailer' numbers in order to make their worldwide sales numbers look larger than they actually are.

They even went so far as to flood the retail channel a couple holiday seasons ago with extra Xbox 360 consoles by leveraging their other Microsoft products just so they could put out press releases claiming huge 'sales'. There were giant stacks of unsold Xbox 360s sitting in stores for months after the holidays because Microsoft has so overstuffed the retail channel.

No surprise that they are doing the same type of installed base/sales inflating. Standard operating procedure for Microsoft.

Re:MS Lies About Their Xbox Sales. No Surprise (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802209)

Just like it's standard procedure for Nintendo to put out updates that brick modified Wii consoles, just like it's standard procedure for Sony to put rootkits on their CD's, etc., etc., etc. Choose your poison, comment-troll crusader, choose your poison.

I don't know how this bullshit gets modified as insightful, I suppose because someone is happily waving around the "MICRO$OFT SUXX0RZ" banner again. "No surprise," indeed. It's no surprise that you're just another zombie caught up in the Slashdot group-think circle-jerk.

Incidentally, care to provide any evidence of your claims about Nintendo and Sony's retail practices? I mean, you seem to imply that you have some special insight into the business operations of two of the most well-known companies in the world, three if you count Microsoft. Have any credentials to back any of that up, or are you just like every other dick on Slashdot who posts anonymously with a bunch of fake bullshit in order to make a point?

I'm willing to bet on the latter.

Re:MS Lies About Their Xbox Sales. No Surprise (2, Interesting)

Rewind (138843) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/2/12/ [penny-arcade.com]

Re:MS Lies About Their Xbox Sales. No Surprise (3, Informative)

Path3 (1338747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802533)

Back in 2006 both Nintendo and Sony stated in public that they were switching to reporting actual sales to customer numbers. Googling only finds references to the original statements by Nintendo and Sony and not the original statements.

However, just a month or so ago Sony once again reiterated that they only report actual sales:

http://news.spong.com/article/19131/SCEE-Clarifies-PS3-Install-Base-Maths [spong.com]

"We calculate our install base by 'sell through' and have done for the last four years I believe", we asked for a little additional clarification...

"We classify 'sell through' as the number of units consumers have actually purchased from retail. 'Sell in' is the number of units we've sold to retail."

Didn't check for a recent statement by Nintendo, but I assume they still report actual sales.

Microsoft remains the only one who still tries to pass off their shipments of stock to retailers as actual sales to customers. Basically pads the worldwide installed base of the Xbox 360 by a couple million units.

Re:MS Lies About Their Xbox Sales. No Surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802881)

They probably count shipped xboxes - which helps them considering they need to ship 3 replacements per unit sold ;-)

Citation needed, A.C. (2)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803137)

There were giant stacks of unsold Xbox 360s sitting in stores for months after the holidays because Microsoft has so overstuffed the retail channel

And your proof for this is to be found - where?

Alone among the three major videogame consoles, sales of the PS3 are down about 19% from November 2007, according to the latest stats from the NPD Group. Sony was only able to sell 378,000 PS3s this November, compared to 466,000 last year.

And the problem for Sony isn't the recession, it's the PS3. Microsoft put up respectable numbers with its Xbox 360, selling 836,000 units vs 777,000 in November 2007. And Nintendo's Wii continues to dominate the market, more than doubling sales from 981,000 to 2.04 million. Sony's PS3 A Sinking Ship: Sales Plummet [businessinsider.com] [Dec 12, 2008]

In a deep recession, retailers keep their inventories of big-ticket items paper-thin.

Every square inch of floor space needs to be generating sales. Product is checked out the front door or it is trucked out the back. I

Re:MS Lies About Their Xbox Sales. No Surprise (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803273)

You realized that 'shipped to retailer' is extremely close to 'sold to customers' for anything that has already been released right?

Do you think MS is sending Walmart and BestBuy Xboxes which they are just storing in some big warehouse somewhere so MS can look good? Throwing MS some extra up front cash to help them out, while they sit on the stock?

Shipped to retailer vs sold to customer are only only different by the number sitting unsold, which is going to remain fairly consistent through out the lifetime of the product.

If they ship 400,000 in October, then you can assume safely that 400,000 sold. Not all of the units shipped in October will sell in October of course, but some units sold in October will have shipped in September and it all balances itself out pretty well, with the exception that Christmas may throw it off if a shortage is expected or they over stock to be safe, but by the end of January it'll be back to normal.

I guess I missed the unsold Xboxs sitting in stores, not saying it didn't happen, but if it did, and thats your argument, its a really flimsy one, even if thats why they list shipped rather than sold, its still going to help them so little that its just silly to worry about it.

I guess in my old age I'm just getting soft on MS, but this just really sounds like tinfoil hate stuff to me. Maybe I just don't care anymore. Everyone knows the Wii is the one thats doing best from any perspective that matters, regardless of what MS advertising says. Mom and dad don't read the WSJ for the most part, so what MS claims they've done in sales doesn't ever hit them. Mommy doesn't read the news wire man.

x Lies About usage. No Surprise (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803331)

Really, I need some insightful analysis from Forrester or Gartner before I can make up my mind. They at least are impartial analysts of key trends, backing their statements with real credible verifiable data and rigorous adherence to reporting standards.

Re:MS Lies About Their Xbox Sales. No Surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29803475)

And how exactly do sony and nintendo find this mythical sold to customer number? I know several shops in the industry and none of them report back to sony or nintendo. The only numbers ANY of them to be certain of is shipped to stores and that number usually pretty closely matches numbers sold as guess what no store is gonna stock pile a console that doesn't sell, floor and storage space is too valuable. besides which the independent reports like NPD show that there numbers are not made up.

Not Surprised (2, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Not Surprised (4, Insightful)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802273)

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.

Large organizations that use SharePoint probably already have a large virtual machine farm, and would have used separate VMs in any case.

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.

People are definitely developing for SharePoint. Most development is oriented for enterprise use, however.

As a result it has no mindshare whatsoever. I was always suspicious that there was any kind of real momentum behind it.

SharePoint has mindshare within large organizations.

Re:Not Surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29803051)

SharePoint has mindshare within large organizations.

To be sure - Microsoft shops tend to be all a-twitter about anything Microsoft does.

Re:Not Surprised (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803203)

Large organizations that use SharePoint probably already have a large virtual machine farm, and would have used separate VMs in any case.

You're still talking about additional server licensing and administration.

People are definitely developing for SharePoint. Most development is oriented for enterprise use, however.

Which means that nobody is developing for it. Whenever you have a product that is only sold to enterprises rather than to the wider world it is very, very difficult for external developers to learn it and for software vendors to provide all the useful add-ons that really provide killer support for it and actually make it useful. It's just not used by everyone else enough. You're never going to get a meaningful startup using Sharepoint. Most CMS development ends up being terribly bespoke.

SharePoint has mindshare within large organizations.

Alas, there is nothing to support that. The wider world can't get access to Sharepoint so they're not coming into large organisations having already known about and learned Sharepoint. That's why companies like BEA found life pretty difficult, because there was a lot of people at college and university using PHP or something that just don't learn their stuff. The only way to make it work is to have a massive salesforce and make it expensive. They are at a massive competitive disadvantage.

Several years on, it's difficult to see how Sharepoint's position has changed.

Re:Not Surprised (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803387)

You're still talking about additional server licensing and administration.

Big companies have big IT departments to do these things.

Which means that nobody is developing for it. Whenever you have a product that is only sold to enterprises rather than to the wider world it is very, very difficult for external developers to learn it and for software vendors to provide all the useful add-ons that really provide killer support for it and actually make it useful.

There's enough of a market for third-party addons that developers pay to promote their software via opt-in email marketing. I know this because I receive such emails.

A lot of SharePoint development might be internal.

Alas, there is nothing to support that. The wider world can't get access to Sharepoint so they're not coming into large organisations having already known about and learned Sharepoint.

There are lots of big companies actually using SharePoint. And there are lots of products that only really get used in large organizations. Think of SAP, IBM mainframes, Lotus Notes/Domino, etc. These products are less accessible than nearly all Microsoft or Oracle products.

As far as using SharePoint - trial versions are available to download from Microsoft for free, as are trial versions of Microsoft's server operating systems. There's also a freely downloadable pre-configured virtual machine [microsoft.com] . The core of SharePoint (WSS) is licensed as part of Windows Server. The full-featured version (MOSS) is available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers for evaluation/development use.

That's why companies like BEA found life pretty difficult, because there was a lot of people at college and university using PHP or something that just don't learn their stuff.

And yet PHP and MySQL haven't taken over the corporate world...

Re:Not Surprised (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803509)

You're still talking about additional server licensing and administration.

Virtual is its own reward.

VM's are very useful for fast rollback, deployment and load balancing, and in my opinion that's equally valuable to the hardware they save (and we've seen 20:1 min, more like 50:1 with occasional 100:1 server packings). The extra admin is offset by much faster MTTR (Changes crash system? Close it and reboot previous image).

The real problem is the proliferation of VM disk images. They grow amazingly numerous. Get a good data de-duplication system to help with that.

Microsoft has package deals that cut the number of licenses you need to run VM's on a single box. Oracle doesn't, I understand. Ran across this when we were rebuilding a toll road system.

And, like it or not (as I said before I'm not a great fan of SP) it very definitely has mindshare in large organisations. Us, for one, and quite a number of our customers, who are also corporations of decent size. Mostly it's seen as a way to get company IP off the laptop hard drive and on to someplace safer - our corporate intranet.

Re:Not Surprised (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29803029)

I was always suspicious

Well, at least you are honest about your preconceived notions influencing your feelings toward a product. If its from Microsoft, it must suck! Right?

Yep, SharePoint is a failure.....oh brother...... (4, Insightful)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802233)

Talk about sour grapes......

Whether every single SharePoint CAL that was purchased is actually in use, is irrelevant to the point of ridicule.

Did they sell it? Did someone BUY it? THEN COUNT it, baby!

Instead of bitching, someone should be crediting Microsoft for how they manage their CALs and bundling.

This is like arguing over how many copies of MS Paint are used on a daily basis. It hardly matters. Microsoft sold it, and pocketed the income, which is cash that most likely WONT go to a SharePoint competitor, whether SharePoint gets used or not.

Re:Yep, SharePoint is a failure.....oh brother.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802739)

This is like arguing over how many copies of MS Paint are used on a daily basis. It hardly matters. Microsoft sold it, and pocketed the income, which is cash that most likely WONT go to a SharePoint competitor, whether SharePoint gets used or not.

Dear Microsoft Corporation,

I am considering upgrading from MS Paint to Sharepoint. I am concerned, however, about the ease of use of Sharepoint versus MS Paint. I have heard that Sharepoint can be complex and may take a long time to learn. I mostly draw funny captions on pictures of cats. Is Sharepoint the best platform for me? I am also considering Zimbra and SugarCRM.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to your reply and detailed licensing information.

Sincerely,
Anonymous Coward

Re:Yep, SharePoint is a failure.....oh brother.... (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803561)

Dear Microsoft Corporation,

I am considering upgrading from MS Paint to Sharepoint. I am concerned, however, about the ease of use of Sharepoint versus MS Paint. I have heard that Sharepoint can be complex and may take a long time to learn. I mostly draw funny captions on pictures of cats. Is Sharepoint the best platform for me?

LoL I can haz laf!

Because, strangely, Sharepoint might be the best product for that application. Lots of little document files that need a tiny bit of post-store metadata -- yep, that'll work.

Re:Yep, SharePoint is a failure.....oh brother.... (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802969)

The issue isn't whether the sales numbers are good. The issue is whether it is really successful - are that many people actually using it? There's a world of difference between, say 80% happy, productive customers and 15% happy, productive customers. When marketing is using these numbers to imply that your own purchase would open the gates of success, what those numbers really mean are important and worth criticizing.

If they paid for it, sure (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803097)

But if it just got thrown into a package, then no.

New low in journalism? (2, Insightful)

snikulin (889460) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802249)

Microsoft May Be Inflating SharePoint Stats

But some suggest...
A recent survey suggests...

suggest From Meriam Webster:
synonyms suggest, imply, hint, intimate, insinuate mean to convey an idea indirectly. suggest may stress putting into the mind by association of ideas, awakening of a desire, or initiating a train of thought . imply is close to suggest but may indicate a more definite or logical relation of the unexpressed idea to the expressed . hint implies the use of slight or remote suggestion with a minimum of overt statement . intimate stresses delicacy of suggestion without connoting any lack of candor . insinuate applies to the conveying of a usually unpleasant idea in a sly underhanded manner .

Re:New low in journalism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802393)

I'm betting that MS business practices are currently viewed as part of their advertising budget (save money and profit in one fell swoop!). They've got the lobbyists and the legal team to pretty much keep the shit off the windshield long enough to ram the MS bus straight up our collective of dumb asses.

Small Business Server (4, Informative)

Simulant (528590) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802263)

I work for a small computer support firm and we have around 400 SBS 2003 and 2008 customers. All of them have Sharepoint installed. None of them know it exists. Exactly one of them uses it for anything (web access to shared calendar).

Hell, I can't even figure out what it's good for.

Re:Small Business Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802353)

Then you're an idiot. Try engaging your brain next time.

Re:Small Business Server (-1, Flamebait)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802387)

The other poster is right; you are an idiot.

The opportunity for increased revenue sits right there in front of you, and if you had any sense, you would LEARN what its good for, and make money SHOWING your clients what they can do with it. Change your name to Anonymous, next time you want to post something that dumb.

Re:Small Business Server (4, Interesting)

Simulant (528590) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802601)

"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.

Re:Small Business Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802745)

It's good for causing the economic downturn.

Yawn. (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802313)

Wake me when Microsoft (or any other big company for that matter) doesn't fib, distort, or outright lie about their sales.

On the other hand, Does anyone know of a viable FOSS alternative to Sharepoint? (I'm not trolling, I figure by now there probably would be one but if there is I'm not aware of it.)

Re:Yawn. (4, Funny)

glwtta (532858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802399)

I know a bit about SharePoint (they've inflicted it on us at work) and as far as I can tell, the best alternative to SharePoint is Not Using SharePoint. Everything beyond that is basically gravy.

There's always this: http://www.alfresco.com/ [alfresco.com] though I haven't looked at it in a few years, so I can't really comment on how good it is.

Re:Yawn. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802653)

Sharepoint replaced a wiki we had at work. We had a wiki that people liked that we constantly improved.

The edict was to move all the documents into word format and upload them into sharepoint.

Now no one ever looks at those documents.

So we didn't have a problem which was solved by moving to a solution that no one wanted and no one uses.

Re:Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802829)

Grow some balls and explain that to the people at the top. You had something that worked and that people used. You got forced into a godamn Microsoft bullshit solution and nobody uses it. You need to drop it and go back to the old solution.

Re:Yawn. (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802921)

Grow some balls and explain that to the people at the top. You had something that worked and that people used.

Heh, man, "real life" is going to be a rude awakening for you after college (or high school?).

Re:Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802647)

MindTouch

Re:Yawn. (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803419)

CVS. and possibly Emacs.

The conclusion is fairly positive for SharePoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802351)

Before posting a knee-jerk bash of Microsoft, maybe you should read the last four paragraphs of the article, which are actually fairly positive in favor of SharePoint:

Even if SharePoint's actual use today is overstated, most analysts feel the product's impact on the market isn't.

Sampson described SharePoint as a "juggernaut," while DeGroot called it "the most successful noncore product ['core' being products like e-mail, file and print, for example] that Microsoft has come up with."

"Microsoft may oversell its success, but that should be considered normal corporate behavior, and there is some fire underneath the smoke," he said.

"I go to a lot of places where the IT department says that SharePoint usage is just growing like a weed," said Alan Pelz-Sharpe, an analyst at CMS Watch. "So it's possible there are actually more SharePoint users than are actually licensed for it. But nobody really knows."

Easy for users, hell for admins (5, Informative)

dan_barrett (259964) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802433)

I administer the free version of Sharepoint at work. (sharepoint 3.0)

It's yet another tool from Microsoft where -

All the data is stored in one large impenetrable database blob - most content is stored in two dimensional "lists", which somewhat limits what you can do in terms of building online forms etc. ALL the list data is stored in the one table, which makes it non-intuitive to make that data visible outside of sharepoint.
It's easy for end users to generate lists, calendars, annoucement pages, document stores, surveys etc etc to their hearts content, so you end up with a big sprawling mess if it's poorly administered
it's easy to add canned 'web parts" but impossble to alter the functionality of those parts. eg, try to prevent staff from seeing survey results, for example. (yes, it's possible but it's not exactly intuitive, and extremely hard without the assitance of Sharepoint designer, which was not free until recently)
Microsoft keep changing the search engine strategy for the product; Search has mysteriously failed on our implementation with few error messages to provide clues.
It doesn't really work properly unless you integrate it with Active directory, Microsoft Office, Infopath, and ideally MS Exchange. Vendor lockin for the win!

So why are we using it? Our staff love it, as it's easy for the end user to figure out; but it's an absolute pig to administer.

In terms of usage stats, I note it comes with every copy of Windows small business server. Perhaps they're including that in the usage stats?

Re:Easy for users, hell for admins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802587)

You're using the *FREE* version of an *OUTDATED* version, and you have a few bitches? Don't get me wrong, I'm no SharePoint fanboy. But honestly...

Re:Easy for users, hell for admins (1)

dan_barrett (259964) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802755)

Yep, we're using the free, outdated version, and I agree, I can't really complain too much about it, we're getting what we paid for after all.
However - my experience so far with the free version hasn't really motivated me to make a business case to move to Sharepoint 2010.

Re:Easy for users, hell for admins (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803139)

Your using an out of date version of a massively cut down product. This is the equivalent to comparing notepad and word, both sorta do the same thing but to say you have any knowledge of how word works because you have used notepad would be idiotic, the same with WSS and SharePoint, they are 2 very different products.

Re:Easy for users, hell for admins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29803197)

The Article is about MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server), not the dinky toy WSS (Windows SharePoint Server) that comes with every copy of windows server that you are using. They are 2 very different beasts.

Re:Easy for users, hell for admins (2, Informative)

jvolk (229717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803207)

I have worked fairly extensively with Sharepoint and used it as a platform for developing several different kinds of applications. That being said...

You hit the mark on most of your points
* Yes, the database is impenetrable (and it supposed to be - you aren't supposed to muck with it) - keep in mind this isn't an open source product

* Lots of the features are too dumb for programmers/power users but easy for regular users to muck up - this is a governance issue and all "portals" can suffer from this

* Canned web parts are moderately powerful but do have limits. Same thing applies to other portal products, such as Websphere Portal, Tibco, etc. As a developer, you can always extend these parts just as you would in any other platform...but of course, it isn't something Sally from accounting can do.

* Mysterious errors usually come back to poor administration or poor governance - you would have the same thing if you didn't know how to properly administer Apache, Tomcat, or any other number of complex applications or platforms.

* Yep, vendor lockin sucks and it sucks about MS. But if you are an MS shop, it works pretty damn well. If you aren't, you probably weren't considering Sharepoint anyway, were you?

So basically, yes, if you don't take the time to learn and adequately use, administer, and deploy, it isn't going to be easy to work with. Don't get me wrong, it has its problems and I'm not saying it is easy but I can't say it is any more difficult than any other application in its class.

Open source alternative (4, Informative)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802505)

I'm working on a project right now for setting up an internal document management system. Ran up a blind alley of learning Drupal (that took a while!) only to discover that it wasn't suitable. Evaluated a few more (including SharePoint) and ended up going with the free and open-source TikiWiki instead. To quote McDonald's, I'm loving it!

I use SharePoint ... (3, Funny)

517714 (762276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29802577)

to reduce the unused space on my hard drive

SharePoint is nothing but PAIN, PAIN, PAIN unless. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802611)

Unless you need the most simplistic, minimal workflow, 90s table based GUI, and wanna avoid developers like a plague..

I am NOT alone, read this
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/256407/what-are-your-biggest-complaints-about-sharepoint

Large IT company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802621)

I work at a large IT company and our CIO has deployed SharePoint for everything. It has made finding any information nearly impossible.

PROBABLY NOT LYING (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802691)

The US and many other governments use Sharepoint almost exclusively for intranet sites. I know the DOD is big on Sharepoint and so are many other agencies and departments. That would amount to a big part of what you think doesn't exist. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean they aren't selling it. Stop being so biased Slashdot.

I have a license for it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802727)

The way Microsoft licensing works, all the devs where I work have the "everything and the kitchen sink" MSDN subscription... and, I just looked at and it includes sharepoint.

We use it at our organization - it's rough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29802789)

We use it as our organization's Intranet, and would never consider it for the Internet. It's a honking, tough piece of software to use, and requires more time and effort to use effectively than any other piece of software that I've had contact with.

We have spent three months, and will spend the next six months, figuring out how to migrate our challenged installation into an installation that works at a minimal level.

Considering our experience, the stats that MSFT is quoting are, without question, vastly inflated. The active MOSS community is pitifully small and, if you check the MSFT support forums, dominated by one or two (paid?) MVPS who censor harsh comments and/or posts that place Sharepoint in a difficult light.

While it may be trying to capture more marketshare with Services 2010, I can't imagine that an even more bloated hulk will make life simpler. In fact, if the demands become ever more stringent (64 bit architecture, etc), they'll be updating themselves way out of our realm!

Shuddering at the thought of more MOSS, and of waking up to MOSS tomorrow morning, A Massachusetts-based Admin

SharePoint isn't always reliable (4, Informative)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#29803339)

I know that Law Firms had a conference to use Sharepoint for Legal Practice Management Software. I wrote an original ASP based Docket Calendar, and Law Firms want to move their Docket Calendars to Sharepoint. I can tell you that when you have a law firm and you want reliability, Microsoft isn't always the best choice. Some law firms still use Wordperfect and other non-MS software because they have found MS software to be low quality in performance and reliability. But the majority of big law firms are hooked on Microsoft for everything as Microsoft bundles software into neat packages for them and provides paid support for everything. The big law firms think that putting everything on Microsoft is a safe bet, but the law firm I worked at went millions of dollars over budget because of support calls, replacing hardware, replacing software, and hiring consultants when Microsoft could not give any answers or solutions to our problems. Back then it was Windows 2000, Office 2000, and Visual BASIC 6.0, and ASP 3.0, but the move to Dotnet only made matters worse. Finally Microsoft is working out the bugs in Dotnet, but in doing so they have created new ones. Sharepoint 3.0 was a nifty program until Microsoft filled it with bloated features that it needs Windows 2008 Server because it won't run on older Windows Servers forcing companies to pay for upgrades to Windows 2008 Server and new server hardware, just like the last time I used Windows Server and Microsoft software in a legal environment.

Keep in mind these are "hidden costs" that do not count many wasted work hours trying to work around the MS bugs in programming, or trying to restore a crashed server or workstation. That expenses can reach record amounts as well as have downtime for the entire firm.

There are only two known FOSS alternatives to Sharepoint [osalt.com] but Wiki sites are usually better and faster and in most cases free to use. I tried getting Wiki implemented in my former work places only to be laughed at. But a Wiki search is faster than a Sharepoint search, and a Wiki need not use Windows Server and can run on Linux, *BSD Unix, or Mac OSX or some other platform to save money.

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