Groove To Get a Name Change

Microsoft Office Groove 2007 will get a name change next year that's more in tune with the SharePoint side of things.

The client product will be known as "SharePoint Workspace 2010" and will be added, along with OneNote, to the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 product, according to a Microsoft announcement published on Wednesday.

Groove is a collaboration and document-sharing client application, with optional server support, that is designed for small teams of two to 30 people. The client application is currently available as part of the Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate edition. Groove originally was the brainchild of Ray Ozzie, who now serves as Microsoft's chief software architect.

Groove isn't going away and SharePoint Workspace 2010 isn't considered by Microsoft to be a new product.

"We are not discontinuing Groove, just renaming it to SharePoint Workspace 2010 to better reflect the alignment and integration with SharePoint Server 2010," a Microsoft spokesperson explained by e-mail.

Microsoft has been fiddling around with its product names lately, including SharePoint, which also is a Microsoft collaboration application. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, or MOSS, is getting a name change for the 2010 edition. Microsoft plans to drop the "Office" part of MOSS, the company explained last month. The rationale is that people think of Office and SharePoint as two different products.

As for the Groove-SharePoint product relationship, a Microsoft blog described it in this way: "Groove is to SharePoint [as] what Outlook is to Exchange."

If that isn't confusing, Microsoft also has another document-sharing and collaboration service for Microsoft Office 2007 called Office Live Workspace, but it's just a free extension to Office. The Groove news has nothing to do with Office Live Workspace.

Another Microsoft service that seems kind of similar is Microsoft Live Mesh, which is another Ozzie brainchild. Live Mesh was announced back in April of 2008.

"People on the Live Mesh development team have an affinity for many of the things Groove does well, but Groove is focused on a different set of Office-specific scenarios for the enterprise," the Microsoft spokesperson explained. "The architectures are also fundamentally different; the Groove architecture is based on decentralized peer technology that doesn't rely on cloud services."

Microsoft announced last week that SharePoint 2010 will be a 64-bit only application when rolled out. It will play well with 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, as well as 64-bit versions of SQL Server 2005 and 2008. It won't work with Internet Explorer version 6.

Microsoft Office Groove 2007 appears to be only a 32-bit app, according to the system requirements. However that will change with the 2010 product.

"Office 2010 Suite products, including SharePoint Workspace 2010, will be available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions," the Microsoft spokesperson explained.

The current Groove product has optional server support. Organizations would typically use Microsoft Office Groove Server 2007 or Office Groove Enterprise Services if they needed centralized management support for the client product, according to Microsoft's FAQ. Otherwise, Groove can be run without the server.

"Groove Server 2007 is not required to run Office Groove 2007 (client app)," the spokesperson explained. "It is an option IT departments can purchase as part of volume licensing if they wish to centrally deploy, manage, and integrate Microsoft Office Groove 2007 across the enterprise."

At the Microsoft Tech-Ed event on Monday, Bill Veghte, Microsoft's senior vice president of Windows business, explained that Microsoft Office 2010 will have a technical preview starting in July. The exception is Tech-Ed attendees and invitees, who already have access to the Office 2010 bits. Other would-be testers face getting on a waiting list, as described here.

Microsoft expects the upcoming Office and SharePoint 2010 products to be available in the first half of next year.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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