Microsoft Announces “Plans” To Replace Office 365 Public Web Sites

Speculation about replacement offerings for the Sharepoint Online public web site feature in Office 365 abounded after Msft announced its demise, first reported here ยป. Azure? Orchard? Sway?None of the above. In a very quiet update to the original kb that revealed the discontinuation of public sites, Msft has made it clear they are basically going to do nothing….well, nothing that you couldn’t do already.

They claim they are “partnering” with Wix and GoDaddy but this is a “partnership” that doesn’t benefit 365 users at all. The public site will not be integrated in anyway with O365 or come with any subscription discounts or special pricing. No data migration or site conversion will be offered that isn’t already provided by their new partners.
So basically the “partnership” claim is just a way of saving face. They are reducing the feature set of O365 with no compensatory price reduction and not subsidizing the new “service” in any way. In other words they are cutting their public site customers loose. Nice. One has to wonder if THEY are in fact getting any affiliate compensation for pushing so many customers to Wix and GoDaddy……
It’s well known Msft hasn’t been able to figure out a way to make money from hosting public web sites. And they certainly can’t be blamed for trying to refocus their resources on Office 365’s many strengths – which the public site offering couldn’t be counted among. But here was a chance to get creative, be imaginative and drum up a little customer love. Essentially they are making loyal customers pay AGAIN for their poorly thought out venture in the public site space.
Here’s that venture’s rather depressing timeline:

  • 2005-06: They initially attracted a large following by enticing small businesses with a “forever free” domain and hosting offerin the OLSB service.
  • c 2008: Realizing that was a bad decision, they started charging for domains
  • 2010-12: Next they started charging for hosting and forced customers to manually rebuild their sites in O365.
  • 2015: Now they are telling users to go elsewhere…..The fact that this announcement was buried in a kb update rather than given a little more prominence is a clear indication thet Msft knows this will not go over well. They should be ashamed of themselves…. .