As I noted earlier, I’m at the SharePoint Conference in Anaheim, CA. My thoughts after day 1:
Venue: I’d never been to the Anaheim Conference Center before but it’s very nice. It’s easy to get around, it’s relatively compact, and to get to the Anaheim Marriott is a 3-minute walk. Unfortunately, next year it’s slated to be in Las Vegas, with all the attendant visual noise and increased distances. I was sitting in the Press/Analyst section at the Keynote when the Vegas location was announced, and we let out a collective groan when Las Vegas was announced. That said, the general audience seemed energized at the thought. As analysts, we go to a lot of conferences in Las Vegas and the allure has worn off; the others are probably less jaded.
Presentations: A very good mix of presentations on a wide variety of subjects. The two I attended — one on Office 365, the other on SharePoint and mobile — were given by knowledgeable Microsoft employees. They didn’t ignore the holes/downsides, but they also didn’t dwell on them. It’s probably the best you can expect from a vendor-sponsored conference. The one on mobile was standing room only — and it was a huge room.
Focus: This is a conference about SharePoint today — it’s not about futures. This irks some of my fellow analysts but I’m fine with it. I talk to a lot of clients who don’t even know what SharePoint can do today, so I think further education on what’s possible today is a higher priority than tentatively describing what the product will do tomorrow.
Mobile Strategy: I asked Kurt Delbene about the SharePoint mobile strategy at a breakfast meeting this morning, and he was very clear that Microsoft will be developing mobile clients for non-Windows devices. So while the intent is there, I’m not sure that’s going to translate into a SharePoint client for the iPad anytime soon, for example. To do this well — and quickly — Microsoft needs to have developers who know these different environments (iOS, Android) and QA engineers to test these non-Windows devices. Given Microsoft’s long-time Windows-centricity, I’m not convinced that it has the organizational infrastructure to do this. Hopefully, the SRO situation at the mobile device presentation this afternoon will make Microsoft realize that doing this quickly should be a high priority.