For a while now I have been using an operating system analogy when explaining SharePoint to complete newbies: As Vista is our client OS, and Windows Server our data centre OS, you can think of SharePoint as the OS for your intranet. That's how fundamental it is to everything Microsoft is doing in the enterprise computing space.
Well it seems now that this view is official. Mary Jo Foley reports from the Convergence Conference a couple of weeks back:
My favorite question during the Q&A session at the end of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's Convergence conference keynote address on March 14 sounded deceptively simple. I'm paraphrasing, but the questioner asked Ballmer something like this: "With all the hoopla here at the conference around SharePoint Server, is it correct to think of SharePoint as almost like an OS (operating system)"?
Ballmer told the Convergence questioner he was dead-on in his thinking.
"SharePoint is the definitive OS or platform for the middle tier"