Yes it is official and not an April fool’s joke as many suspected. Microsoft announced on April 1st 2009 that it will no longer charge $300+/- per instance and is now giving away SharePoint Designer (SPD) for free. This is a substantial change in the winds of Microsoft licensing and further supports Microsoft’s dark horse (MOSS) as a revenue stream for the company.
Letter to Customers
Ever since Microsoft bought Vermeer FrontPage 1.0 in 1995 and turned it into Microsoft FrontPageTM it has been an underwhelming and disappointing tool lapped by most notably DreamWeaverTM. As the successor to FrontPage, SharePoint Designer 2007 is the first step in the right direction and an essential tool for developing and designing SharePoint solutions. However, SharePoint Designer sales have been dwarfed compared to $80 CALs for MOSS. The hidden agenda with giving away SPD is to further promote adoption of SharePoint; which is not necessarily a bad thing but is a double-edged sword. The assumption here is by giving away ½ inch drill bits everyone will buy Microsoft wood to drill ½ holes. Having free use of SharePoint Designer does not justify adoption of SharePoint alone. IT decision makers must define an outcome, road map and governance plan before expecting to see value of even a pilot from SharePoint technologies.
YOUR COMPANY’S $100,000 ART PROJECT
SharePoint portals are not a tool for creative expression. They are a server technology deployed as a business tool which has a value stream to achieve principles of enterprise web services. Allowing or even entertaining the idea that end users will have use of SharePoint Designer turns your company’s SharePoint Extranet into an art project thereby diverting goals and resources from achieving simple tasks like document management and orchestrating business process.
SharePoint Designer is for those in a career path of web design, or officially tasked and trained to implement SharePoint technologies have a business justification to have SharePoint Designer. As noted in the Portalogiks SharePoint Developers Academy, SharePoint Designer is not something you want general users playing with. Unfortunately, now they can get it independently of your organization’s IT and purchasing departments.
With SharePoint Designer available for free, what is stopping users from loosing productivity as each installs SharePoint Designer starts to de-webmaster your SharePoint sites? The answer: proper IT planning and configurations before SPD infection hits your organization. Click here to learn about options to lock down SharePoint Designer at various levels.
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