Office 365 Public Sites are one of those features that I have mixed feelings about. It was an awesome selling point with client to be able to say, “Buy Office 365 and you get your public site for free.” At ITG we have several clients where we have setup their public site and for the most part it works, as long as you are not expecting full SharePoint functionality. At ITG we have had several discussions about what the best approach would be for our customers that a full ECM solution for their public site since the Office 365 public site didn’t give them that. Well we don’t have to make that discussion anymore, thank you Microsoft.
Good By and thanks for the fish. Public Sites
Earlier this month a rumor was leaked that Microsoft was going to remove the option for Public Sites on Office 365. Well Microsoft made it official over the weekend. In this article Microsoft details many of the specifics about removing Public Sites from Office 365 while leaving us in the dark yet again. Microsoft has had a trend lately to remove support for products without providing any information on what the suggested route going forward would be. Both InfoPath and AutoHosted Apps in SharePoint had their plugs pulled with no roadmap going forward. At least InfoPath will still work but AutoHosted Apps is dead and gone. Well Microsoft has apparently been trying to figure out how to best allocate their resources lately for Office 365 because like AutoHosted Apps, Public Sites are being discontinued. One up side is that at least Microsoft has promised that more information about solutions that will fill the public site need will be announced next month. Considering that the functionality is also being pulled next month as well. Microsoft says that they have information on Third Party providers that provide services that will work with Office 365 connections and will provide a discount for Office 365 subscribers. In the Microsoft Support article it says that if you have already signed up and are working with your public site you get to keep it for two years after that point in time support will be completely pulled.
New subscribers will lose this option after the end of January 2015. Then your only option will be to use a third party solution. I was going to try moving my blog to my Office 365 public site but this announcement confirmed for me that I don’t need to mess with the hassle. Once the list of other options is released I will have to evaluate how I want to proceed then I will report back.