Microsoft’s plan to override Google’s search engine in its own Chrome browser for some Office customers has roiled users and led to widespread criticism on social media.
What happened: The latest update to Office 365 ProPlus will include a Chrome extension that makes Bing the default search engine on devices in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, U.K., India and Australia. Installing Microsoft Search in Bing as the primary search function allows users to find important workplace information, including files and documents, internal sites and business tools, people and org charts and building information straight from the browser address bar.
It can be un-done: In the support documents, Microsoft notes that users can stop the extension from being installed through the “Office Deployment Tool or by using Group Policy.” After the update is installed, users can still switch back to Google as the default search tool as well.
The reaction: The backlash to the move has been swift. Comments on the Microsoft support document asked the company to re-consider, called the plan anti-trust behavior and one user said it was “one of the dumbest things I’ve seen.” Social media commentators, including an ex-Microsoft vice president, also panned the move.
This is beyond disappointing. It is bullying, monopolistic, and un-customer friendly.
If this happens on my Windows desktop I will uninstall Office and stop paying, at a minimum.https://t.co/nelZ8hKPWY
— Laura Butler ???????????????? (@LauraCatPJs) January 23, 2020
https://t.co/lfnzuI6Mbn@Microsoft365 @Microsoft @bing @onedrive
NOBODY WANTS THIS!
THIS IS A HORRIBLE MISTAKE.
THIS IS BALMERESQUE.@satyanadella @MSEdgeMissy
AtLiterallyAnyoneAtMicrosoftThatWillGetThisMEssageToTheProperChannelsPLEASE#Office365 #Microsoft #Bing #Shenanigans
— eric (@R3SIST4NCE) January 22, 2020
I can't help but wonder if this is some sort of sick trial balloon. Certainly antivirus products should block this kind of search engine hijacking. And I can't imagine the EU letting this go unchallenged.
— Woody Leonhard (@AskWoody) January 22, 2020
This is malware behavior. Windows Defender would go NUTS if a non-MS app tried this.
— Randy Arrowood (@arrowrand) January 22, 2020
— ???????????????????????????????? ???????????????????? #ISE2020 (@vacajun) January 23, 2020
A few others were happy to get away from the grasp of Google and showed some love for the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo.
Categorically I am against this with the reasons you mentioned- However, a nudge to gets me away from the grasp of Google, is a nudge I can welcome. Trying hard to get rid everything Google off my life.
— Ali Salih (@alisalih) January 23, 2020
— Hawon Jung, CTS (@Hawon) January 23, 2020