Microsoft and Enterprise Social Media.

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Bill Gates hosted his 2008 CEO Summit a couple of weeks ago. It's a high powered event, attended by more than 100 company CEOs from around the world that are reported to drive over $3 trillion in revenues. The guest list is kept pretty quiet, but word was that there were private jets at a local airfield registered to eBay, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Kimberley Clark and the like. An influential audience, no doubt.

This year's theme was The Next Wave of Business Productivity and the subtitle could have been "empowering the worker". Bill's posit was that we're just beginning to put appropriate technology in the hands of employees to help them perform well. And that things 'social will play an increasingly important part in raising their productivity. Of course as Microsoft Chairman, Bill gets to put his resources where he believes his opportunity lies. So no surprises that positioning SharePoint as a social computing platform was a key part of his presentation.

I think there's a solid point made that SharePoint is a clear step in the right direction, particularly for internal collaboration, though it's lacking in some attributes that it will take Microsoft time to deliver. As it's clear that the need for things 'social' is here today and growing fast, rounding out the offering with partnerships is a sensible way to go. Particularly if it can extend SharePoint to involve key external constituencies such as partners and customers.

Symbiosis at work. At least for a while. .

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