I mentioned this first here, Two Microsoft RIP's today - Public Office 365 Sites and Office Clip Art and have been waiting for confirmation. Well, we've got it.
Starting in January 2015, Microsoft is making changes to the SharePoint Online Public Website feature. 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. Moving forward, Office 365 customers will have access to third-party offerings that will enable them to easily integrate their public presence with their Office 365 service. Additional details about these solutions will be made available in January 2015.
Why is Microsoft making this change?As part of the evolution of the Office 365 service, we periodically evaluate the capabilities of the service to make sure that we’re delivering the utmost value to customers. 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.
What does this mean for existing customers of Office 365 plans?Office 365 customers who currently use the SharePoint Online Public Website feature will continue to have access to the feature for a minimum of two years following the change. Moving forward, customers will have the option to subscribe to third-party solutions for public website functionality. Customers should plan to move to one of these third-party solution within the next two years.
What does this mean for new customers of Office 365 plans?As of the changeover date, Microsoft will no longer be offering the SharePoint Online Public Website feature to new customers. New customers who subscribe to Office 365 after the changeover date won't have access to this feature. Moving forward, Office 365 customers will have the option to subscribe to third-party solutions by using links from Office 365.
How will this change be communicated to Office 365 customers?All Office 365 administrators who currently have provisioned SharePoint Online will receive a notification in the Office 365 Message Center.
Overview of third-party offerings
What are the third-party solution offerings?
Check out Mary Jo's post for some more information and details;
As rumors suggested, Microsoft is deprecating Public Websites from SharePoint Online and Office 365 in January 2015. Here's more on why and what happens next.