I rarely regret making the move to Mac. In fact, apart from some travails with Entourage shortly after I upgraded to Office 2008, I haven’t given going back to Windows a second thought. It’s not that I had a problem with Vista – arguably my Vaio ran better with it than it had without it. It’s not that I didn’t like Office 2007 – quite the contrary. It’s just that things were more agreeable on the Mac.
And then there was a meeting last Friday.
I was with Microsoft taking a look at SharePoint. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen SharePoint. I guess that was sometime in 2005? I’ve even sponsored the install for a couple of clients and used it at others. It was, though, hard work. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing between the browser and the applications.
Somehow, the changes in the latest version had just passed me by. I’m not sure if I’d seen it working and ignored it or just not seen it. But my eyes were opened last Friday.
The tight integration between SharePoint and Office 2007 makes for a very interesting offer. It makes you start to wonder about running an instance of Office inside Parallels or VMware on your Mac. You start wondering about how easy that would be. And whether it would make authoring harder or easier. You even start thinking about Bootcamp. I didn’t though, whatever you might be thinking, start wondering about pulling out my old Vaio.
For all that I babble on about the need to guard your Corporate Memory (or your .gov one for that matter), the available tools have often struck me as too hard to use – having to remember where to tag, how to tag, what to tag and so on, moving in and out of the browser window and the applications and so on.
The new SharePoint, paired with Office 2007, and perhaps Groove (a Windows only application) gets round all of this and adds a pile more features to make it easier still to publish, manage, find and interact with content, to mass or select audiences.
There are some who would turn this into an anti-Microsoft rant. It doesn’t need to be and it isn’t. If I ran a platform – and that would be IE7 in this case as nothing in the new SharePoint or Office depends on Vista – I’d look to exploit it too. And if I had an application suite, I’d want it to do things that other suites couldn’t do – maybe even if i had two competing suites within my own company.
And there’s the rub … Office 2008 for Mac is a Microsoft product of course … as is Office 2007 for Windows. Two competing teams, one leapfrogging the other.
For now, if you want to really use SharePoint as it was designed to be used, you’ll need to be using Windows.
And, I have to tell you, I’m thinking hard about how best to do that in this case.