SharePoint Online drops Public Website

​Last month, Microsoft announced a distinctive change one of the SharePoint Online features. The publishing site in Office 365 will be deprecated as of January 2015.

In a a KB Article (3027254) released December 23, 2014, that the Public Website feature of SharePoint Online will soon be dropped. Public Websites is a publishing site feature intended to give clients the ability to put up public web sites quickly using the Web Content Management features of SharePoint.

Existing customers will be notified this month that the service will be completely shut down in 2 years, and new clients will not have access to this feature.

Microsoft's reason that it has always promised the clients to deliver the upmost value to their clients, and the decision is to partner in the future with 3rd party software to deliver public facing websites. The announcement of the partnership should be revealed this month, so we will have to wait and see who is the next big player with Microsoft in the WCM world.

Although, this decision has been a difficult for the product team, I personally think that it is a smart move by Microsoft. There are few 3rd part solutions that offer great WCM capabilities and it is only smart to partner with them to provide the best solution in SharePoint Online.

If I want to take a guess who would be the 3rd party vendor to provide WCM solutions within SharePoint Online, it would be Sitecore. Earlier this year, Microsoft and Sitecore announced a strategic alliance to work together in delivering solutions to their client base.

Time will tell, but I would definitely bet that Microsoft will start offering Public Website features with SharePoint Online using Sitecore services.