Microsoft has a lot to lose if they are unable to coax customers to continue to use and invest in Office. Google is trying to woo people away by providing a complete online experience with Google Docs, Email, and Wave. Microsoft is taking a different tact. They are easing Office users into a Web 2.0-like experience by creating a hybrid environment, in which people can continue to use the rich Office tools they know and love, and mix this with a browser experience. I use the term Web 2.0 here to mean that users can contribute important content to the site.
SharePoint leverages Office to allow users to create, modify, and display "deep" content, while leveraging the browser to navigate, view, discover, and modify "shallow" content. SharePoint is not limited to this narrow hybrid feature set, but in this post I examine and illustrate how Microsoft is focusing its attention on the Office users. The feature set that I concentrate on in this post is referred to as the "Collaboration" portion of SharePoint. This is depicted in Microsoft’s canonical six segmented wheel shown in Figure 1. This is the most mature part of SharePoint and works quite well, as long as the client machine requirements outlined below are met.
Figure 1: The canonical SharePoint Marketing Tool – Today’s post focuses on the Collaboration Segment
Preliminaries: Client Machine Requirements
SharePoint out-of-the-box works well if all client machines adhere to the following constraints:
- The client machines must be running Windows OS (XP, Vista, or WIndows 7)
NOTE: The experience for users who are using MAC OS, Linux, iPhones, and Google phones is poor. 
- The only truly supported browser is Internet Explorer (7 and 8.) 
NOTE: Firefox, Safari, and Opera can be used, but the experience is poor.
- The client machines need to have Office installed, and as implied by bullet 1 above, the MAC version of Office doesn’t work well with SharePoint 2007.
- All the clients should have the same version of Office. Office 2007 is optimal, but Office 2003 can be used. A mixed version of Office can cause issues.
- A number of tweaks need to be made to the security settings of the browser so that the client machine works seamlessly with SharePoint.
I refer to this as a "Microsoft Friendly Client Environment."
 The terms "deep" and "shallow" are my creation, and not a standard. By "deep" content I am referring to the complex content such as a Word documents (contracts, manuscripts) or Excel documents (complex mathematical models, actuarial models, etc…)
 Microsoft has addressed this by stating that SharePoint 2010 would support some of these environments. I am somewhat skeptical.