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Office 2003 to include Microsoft's SharePoint Portal. (BI News Review).

Microsoft Corp will ship its portal software with the forthcoming Office product line, increasing the suite's appeal as a "one-stop-shop" for document collaboration and exchange.

Under branding, Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server 2001 will become Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, adopting the naming convention for Word and other applications in the version of Office due this summer.

These latest details come after Microsoft last month re-branded Office its "Office System." That move meant a number of new business and collaborative applications joined the Office family, although they will not be made available to all customers by default.

Applications falling into this category are Office InfoPath 2003 and Office OneNote 2003. InfoPath, an XML-based application to gather information from different back-end applications, will only be available with Office Professional 2003 Enterprise Edition under the company's volume licensing programs.

InfoPath will be a standalone application. It is not clear which versions of Office 2003 will ship with SharePoint Portal Server.

Broadening of Office's functionality to include software like SharePoint Portal Server could, ironically, help strengthen rival ISVs battling against Microsoft's suite with their own offerings. Sun Microsystems Inc is pitching StarOffice as a less-feature-oriented and more price-friendly alternative to Office.

Such vendors will claim to offer real-world users software that suits their needs and pockets, instead of visionary features unnecessary for mundane, day-to-day desktop processing.

SharePoint Portal Server is positioned by Microsoft as a document-centric portal allowing users to categorize, search and index content from multiple Microsoft Office sources. The enhanced edition represents the latest addition to a set of collaborative services positioned as part of Microsoft's Office suite of products.

SharePoint Portal Server 2003 will build on the search and component-based user interface design of the suite's first version to provide enhanced manageability, scalability and performance capabilities. SharePoint Portal Server 2003 also taps into the collaborative capabilities of SharePoint Service, Microsoft's Web-based team collaboration application that was formerly called SharePoint Team Services. SharePoint Services is built on Microsoft's .NET framework and offers a host of Web-based collaborative features such as document management, discussion lists, and internal surveys.

SharePoint Portal Server is in beta 2 release and due for summer release and due as a download as part of Windows Update.
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Publication:MarketWatch: Business Intelligence
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 27, 2003
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