Microsoft Pulling the Plug on Office 365 Public Website Service
Microsoft's SMB site-building offering is shutting down, but customers will have two years to move their SharePoint Online Public Websites.Microsoft is shutting down its SharePoint Online Public Websites service, a free Website offering for small and midsize business (SMB) Office 365 customers, the company announced. Beginning next month, the Redmond, Wash.-based software company will no longer accept sign-up for SharePoint Online Public Websites. "Customers who currently use this feature will continue to have access to the feature for a minimum of two years following the changeover date. New customers who subscribe to Office 365 after the changeover date won't have access to this feature," announced Microsoft in an online support document. SharePoint Online Public Websites, as its name suggest, is a template-driven toolset that enables SMBs to construct a public-facing Website. Features include custom domain names, search engine optimization tools, social media integration and search-friendly URLs. Starting next month, new customers will get need to look elsewhere. "Moving forward, Office 365 customers will have the option to subscribe to third-party solutions by using links from Office 365." The company plans to release more guidance come January 2015. Office 365 Message Center will alert current customers to the change.
The Public Websites perk is going away to make room for future, presumably high-value, Office 365 capabilities. "Today, we're making a difficult decision to discontinue the SharePoint Online Public Website feature. This lets us then focus on future investments while broadening our partnership with industry leaders," said the company.