|Update 19 December: Microsoft confirmed it is dropping the Public Website feature from SharePoint Online on January 2015.
Information about upcoming changes to SharePoint Online Public Website
Microsoft confirms it is dropping Public Website feature from SharePoint Online | ZDNet
SharePoint has been evolving over the years to a multi-pillar platform. It acts like a Swiss knife with loads of features that address business problems.
One of the core pillars in SharePoint is Web Content Management. Since SharePoint 2007, Microsoft is promoting SharePoint as a platform for building public facing websites. Although it was not delivering a lot of web content management features that are available in other incumbent products like WordPress, Sitecore, and Joomla…etc.
However, SharePoint managed to find its way into large enterprises websites. Microsoft was highlighting, if the organisation is using SharePoint internally and externally, a) it is easy to integrate the intranet and the website, and b) less training is required for content authors and IT because they can use the same skill set for the website and the intranet.
Microsoft invested a lot in web content management features in SharePoint 2010, then add more enhancements in SharePoint 2013 to support SEO, friendly URLs, videos, managed navigation and HTML 5.
Currently, Microsoft is focusing on the new strategy “Cloud first, Mobile first”, and after SharePoint 2013 Microsoft is putting all its efforts in SharePoint inside Office 365.
Microsoft is offering public website in Office 365 but it is very basic and targeting small and midsize business.
I am following the Microsoft marketing materials, speaking to the product teams, and watching all the investment in Office 365 through different sources one of them is the Office 365 Yammer network. It is evident that Microsoft doesn’t invest in the web content management features in SharePoint, and all the focus is on the collaboration features, Enterprise Social and the Office 365 platform.
Microsoft is not investing a penny in public websites features in SharePoint. In addition, the article published by Mary Jo Foley is stressing the same conclusion.
My opinion that Microsoft is promoting hosting public websites on Microsoft Azure regardless what is the technology. If you explore the websites are available in Microsoft Azure, you can find DNN, WordPress, Drupal, Orchard and much more.
Also if you are looking for an advanced website platform that offers marketing tools, A/B testing and campaigns management in addition to the content publishing features, Microsoft is promoting Sitecore. Sitecore is Microsoft ISV partner of the year 2014; its platform can be hosted on-premise and in Microsoft Azure. It is based on Microsoft technology stack; ASP.Net and SQL Server.
Watch out this space and let’s see how Microsoft is going to address this issue and its response to the customers’ feedback.