Box.net vs SharePoint on Highway 101

What’s going on in the workgroup collaboration and file sharing space in 2009?

If anybody drove southbound near Redwood Shores on Highway 101 (in Silicon Valley for those who are not local) lately, you would have noticed a big billboard put up by Box.net challenging SharePoint to a simplicity match.  This challenge was apparently launched during Enterprise 2.0.

Box.net vs SharePoint

Box.net vs SharePoint

ReadWriteWeb also has an article on this topic, titled The Gloves Come Off in The Box.net vs. SharePoint Challenge.  There are people who argued that SharePoint is much more feature rich while others argued that SharePoint is too complex (rightly so, I might say from personal experience) to the detriment of its users who are just trying to collaborate on some documents.

While this drama is going on, you might notice that there are other players in this space.  As Microsoft’s SharePoint revenue exceeds $1 Billion in FY2008, startups know that they can grow to a good size by just grabbing a small part of this growing file sharing / collaboration market.  At that point, bigger players such as IBM Lotus and Adobe may ride in and buy them up.

Here is another blog which provided some description on 13 other file sharing/sending services in this space: YouSendIt, Send6, TransferBigFiles, BigFileBox, PipeBytes, DropSend, MailBigFile, SendFile, SendThisFile, Pando, HotShare, Driveway and LeapFILE.   Though each targets a slightly different group of audience, there seems to be a lot of overlap even just looking at the names.  Thoughts?

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2 Responses

  1. Can the two really be compared?

  2. Abner I think if you are comparing feature to feature, Box.net and SharePoint aren’t comparable. As you pointed out in your blog, SharePoint is essentially a platform which you can use to share files, build group websites and collaborate. This is all well and good if the organization has IT experts like you who can jump in and configure things as the need arises.

    However, if people simply want to get things done or create a workspace to collaborate, SharePoint’s complexity often gets in the way. A colleague of mine called it HidePoint because somebody would do something to the system and suddenly her files would be hidden from everybody.

    Since you are an IT professional, I wonder if you can provide some insight into how your users typically work with SharePoint. Do you delegate any workspace management or configuration tasks to them? Are they able to accomplish those tasks on their own?

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