A lot of people are asking us when they can get away with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (which is free with Windows Server) vs. having to purchase licenses for SharePoint Portal Server 2007. So, I thought I would write a quick blog post that describes some rules of thumb for when you would need to buy Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. First, here are some definitions:
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 - This is a component of Windows Server that is required for using Office SharePoint Server. Windows SharePoint Services is the underlying technology on which Office SharePoint Server builds.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 - is a new server program that is part of the 2007 Microsoft Office system. Your organization can use Office SharePoint Server 2007 to facilitate collaboration, provide content management features, implement business processes, and supply access to information that is essential to organizational goals and processes.
When you boil it down, an organization will need to pay for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 when their business requirements call for one or many of the following:
1. Enterprise search
2. Enterprise Content Management
3. Business Process and Forms
4. Business intelligence.
For a complete breakdown of the features of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and a comparison between the different 2007 server editions and SharePoint Portal Server 2003, you can download the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 edition comparison document from Microsoft's website.