Goodbye, SharePoint Community. It was Nice Knowing You.

Update 3, December 24: I just received an email from Microsoft that they will be reinstating the Facebook pages again. As such, this issue is now resolved in my case.

I was thrilled to hear from Jeff Teper recently regarding Microsoft’s commitment to new on-premises version of SharePoint. These types of community interactions really bring a glimmer of hope that the behemoth in Redmond has at least a few bright people that understand the needs of the SharePoint community. For a few weeks, I was genuinely optimistic that we were looking at a brighter future for the community.

However, it is all for naught. SharePoint Magazine has received notice from Microsoft’s legal department to stop using the name SharePoint. Microsoft has already taken steps to shut down the SharePoint Magazine Facebook pages. It seems that Redmond is now going to go after anyone using the name SharePoint without applying for a special license.

In fact, Microsoft didn’t even say this to us immediately, they just contacted Facebook to have the SharePoint Magazine Facebook pages taken down.

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Granted, SharePoint Magazine is in an indefinite hiatus, but the Facebook pages contained articles published in the magazine over many years. These archives, the only ones publicly available, are now gone.

I contacted Kristen Merker in Microsoft Trademark Paralegal (just a fancy way of avoiding to say you’re a lawyer) to figure out why they had shut down the site. I asked them to reinstate the page and let her know that it would be a very bad idea to start going after community resources like that.

In response, I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I needed to have a license to use the name SharePoint, and:

If such a license agreement does not exist, our reasons for taking down the page remain – namely, it misused our SharePoint trademark in the page name and Facebook Web Address.

Needless to say, this isn’t likely going to go down well with the SharePoint community.

Oh, dang, I used that trademarked name again. Guess Microsoft will send a cease and desist letter to my blog now.

So, if you are running a community site, Facebook page, blog, or anything like that, you can expect Microsoft to come after you and take away all your hard work. Community sites such as NothingButSharePoint.com and sharepoint-community.net are in the Redmond crosshairs. Users that have had SharePoint as part of their Twitter names will likely have to rename or close their accounts. Commercial services like European SharePoint Conference may be in danger.

Specifically, Kristen Merker quoted the following rules that Microsoft now enforces:

Specifically, your social media account names and any and all pages or communities should not include any Microsoft trademarks. Any associated account, page, or community images should not include any Microsoft logos.

For holiday greetings from Microsoft this year, you’re looking at takedown notices if you use the name you previously used.

So, thank you for everything, SharePo… The community formerly know as Shar….

Well, you guys. I’m sorry to say this, but I think this spells the death of the SharePo… the old community and a lot of its resources. To survive, we need to rename any pages or groups that uses the word… HAH! I didn’t say it.

I suggest the new name for the community should be Frank.

The SharePoint community is dead. Long live the Frank community!

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Update 3, December 24: I just received an email from Microsoft that they will be reinstating the Facebook pages again. As such, this issue is now resolved in my case.

Update 2: Joel Oleson… The Joel Oleson… just announced that his brand SharePointJoel is now dead and that he’s cancelling his accounts.

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