Gemini has an official name: PowerPivot


Well the Gemini team is making progress towards shipping. Now they have a real name: PowerPivot. They still don’t have any pricing/licensing/packaging details; that is promised later this year. There’s also links to sign up for a beta. But I don’t have any more details about that.

Like all Microsoft employees I had access to a survey about the name a few months ago. I don’t remember anymore what kinds of choices I had, I remember not being very excited about them. But I do remember that it was clear we were going to be positioning PowerPivot as an essential part of the IW (information worker) experience. The marketing materials certainly back that up. But most importantly, from my experimentation with the CTPs and the internal news I hear, I think the product backs that up as well.

I think that’s why it gets branded with a name that references PivotTables, because one of the primary goals is making IWs able to build data models more easily. I originally thought the name options along those lines were too limiting, but I think it’s more and more clear how well SQL and Excel are working together to ensure there is powerful modeling and analysis capabilities available for everyone (in a SQL + SharePoint + Office environment). A name that gave more credence to the engine would not be relevant at all to the IW, so this name communicates our goals better.

Then so you don’t think the SQL team is the only team driving BI for IWs, you might be interested in some more details about how new features in Excel 2010 PivotTables. With all the emphasis on PowerPivot naturally landing in Excel and reusing a familiar environment, the PivotTable team has to keep up appearances as well! Most of these improvements are relevant to OLAP-ish scenarios, but especially the calculation options are meant to let ordinary people (IWs) do analysis, and not just OLAP experts.

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