Last week Microsoft shares news they will be Carbon negative by 2030 which is a great move. Now this week, they totally negate all that good will with an incredibly stupid & arrogant move.
Yesterday, those of us who receive Office 365 Message Center notifications via email were greeted with a shocking change coming to a future version of Office ProPlus.
Roadmap #59917: Extension of Microsoft Search in Bing to be installed to Office 365 ProPlus customers states that starting with version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus, Microsoft will automatically and without your consent install a browser extension in Google Chrome & Firefox web browsers that sets your default search engine to Bing.
You read that right - Microsoft Office turns to malware and modifies your computer settings without your consent. Most end users don’t know how to change their default search experience. Sound familiar? Flashback to the days when the US Justice Department hauled Microsoft to court for using their monopoly power to implement anti-competitive practices.
Got an alert from @Office365 that roadmap ID https://t.co/nISXluUNfB is rolling out. Install Office 365 ProPlus & they changes your default search engine to Bing for @googlechrome & @firefox #BOOO #FAIL pic.twitter.com/zU4jw6xU98— Andrew Connell 🏁🚀🤓🇺🇸 (@andrewconnell) January 22, 2020
Reaction to this has not just been swift, but overwhelming, loud & passionately negative:
- Verge: Microsoft to force Chrome default search to Bing using Office 365 installer
- Reddit: Office 365 ProPlus to change Chrome’s default search engine to Bing in an upcoming update
- Microsoft Docs: Microsoft Search in Bing and Office 365 ProPlus
The last link above documents how you can avoid this, but if you aren’t an IT Pro or administrator, it’s above your head. You can use group policy, registry hacks or an Office deployment tool. That’s great for enterprises, but to the rest of the world, that doesn’t help. The Reddit post and the comments in the last link above show how furious users are by this overreach.
I can’t express how much I hate this move. Bing’s market share continues to live at the bottom of the search engines. Microsoft has tried so many options to force people to switch to Bing. This is the worst of them all.
If you feel the same, please take a moment and leave feedback on the Microsoft Docs page linked above, vote & comment on both of the following User Voice entries:
- UserVoice: Change to Bing Search for ProPlus should be opt-in only
- UserVoice: Do not force push Bing as the default search engine
And share your frustration on Twitter… use the hashtag #MSOfficeMalware when you tag @Office with your complaints!
And here I was, about to install the new Chromium Edge (aka: Credge) to give it a try. Nope… not now…