Socialtext, the market-leading Enterprise Wiki has released a SharePoint version of its product, dubbed SocialPoint.
Initially, positioning a competitive collaboration application alongside and perhaps against Microsoft's newly Blog and Wiki capable SharePoint 2007 platform may seem redundant, risky, and complicating. However, if you delve further into the workings of the situation, things start to make sense. Firstly, generation 1.0 of Microsoftâ€™s products are usually a bit anemic on features. They tend to hit the minimum requirements and may not be something you want to throw at a critical enterprise audience. Wiki's are fairly simple things, but a platform like Socialtext has a big headstart on Microsoft.
Secondly, adoption of SharePoint/MOSS 2007 could take a while and existing SharePoint Portal (SPS) customers can leverage SocialPoint to start building Wikis in SPS today.
Thirdly, Socialtext has a broad user base and a strong following in the enterprise. Socialtext has also had a few years to mature and develop according to customer needs as it has worked its way into businesses.
A lot of MS-centric businesses are running Active Directory and are probably considering SharePoint (MOSS) 2007 as a collaboration platform or as an upgrade to their existing SharePoint Intranet. It is natural then to make Socialtext work with the Active Directory and leverage the massive growth of the SharPoint platform. SharePoint is a competitor and yet a platform. Aligned carefully and this works out for both parties.
"SocialPoint provides Microsoft SharePoint customers with a trusted, best-of-breed wiki solution," said Ross Mayfield, CEO at Socialtext. "It makes a powerful product even more powerful, by extending its functionality in a critically important area."
In addition to the natural collaboration fit, there is a shift rippling through the market in regards to Microsoft's relationship with Open Source Software (OSS) and other vendors in general.
OSS has a long history of working on Windows. Apache and Firefox are probably the most obvious examples but many more are available and flourishing. Beyond this Microsoft, has recently taken a new view on OSS, becoming dramatically more open to the fact that OSS is here to stay and that they had better play nice. This shift is timely for Socialtext, and means the environment is ripe for applications like SocialPoint to play well within Microsoft's SharePoint solutions.
Socialtext developed SocialPoint using their Wiki Web Services -- which the company released in Socialtext 2.0 earlier this month -- and a collection of Sharepoint Web Parts. Integrated with a SOAP API, SocialPoint enables Sharepoint to authenticate to multiple wikis, display "Recent Changes" and pages within the portal while offering them up for editing.
SocialPoint is available immediately and included within Socialtext Professional and Socialtext Enterprise. In addition, SocialPoint will be released under an open source license in the near future.
The company offers a free, full-featured, and open source version of their product to groups of 5 persons or less and/or to other open source efforts.
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