One perpetual hazard for users of the cloud is their ultimate lack of input into what services are added, and vice versa, to the programs that they use on a daily basis. As development and maintenance of the cloud are the prerogative of a firm elsewhere, one completely surrenders any illusion of choice in such a situation, save perhaps from embracing another, similar, service.
This is a lesson that Office 365 users are currently learning, with Microsoft opting to close the Sharepoint Online Public Website feature, stating,
“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.”
As can be seen, Redmond are doing this in order to appease other firms who offer such a service, perhaps to secure a strategic partnership with a key company. Regardless, changes for the end user are to take place shortly. From January 2015, new users of Office 365 will be unable to create new websites using the Sharepoint Online Public Website, nor will current users. Moreover, the service will continue maintenance for a further two years, keeping already created websites online during this period of time, customers are advised to plan to move within the next two years, with additional details about third-party offerings to be posted in January 2015.
As mentioned, new third-party offerings will come into play shortly, which will be offered to current users of Office 365 in place of the Sharepoint Online Public Website. The removal of this service will not see a reduction in price from the full offer by Microsoft, despite the fact that functionality is being eroded.
Though this is an unfortunate development, although it’s unclear how many users were using the service anyway, such is the nature of business, and such is the prerogative of Microsoft; hopefully no other such features will removed in a repeat of this action.
Will you be affected by this cancellation? Let us know in the comments below.