One big Microsoft foothold in enterprise productivity remains the Office suite of applications. The company announced yesterday that — by default — users of its premium Office 365 subscription will be forced to install an extension that makes Bing the default search engine in Chrome.
Update 2/11: Following uproar and “feedback,” Microsoft announced today (via ZDNet) that it’s no longer going ahead with its plan to force Bing in Chrome. Specifically, the “Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension will not be automatically deployed with Office 365 ProPlus.” The company will provide an “updated timeline for this rollout over the next few weeks.”
Original 1/23: With an upcoming version (2002) of Office 365 ProPlus, the “Microsoft Search in Bing” extension will be installed to make “Bing the default search engine for the Google Chrome web browser.” This default configuration begins next month and is set to be completed by mid-2020 in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
This extension will be installed with new installations of Office 365 ProPlus or when existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus are updated.
As a result of the outcry, Microsoft looks to have updated the announcement documentation to emphasize explicit instructions on what admins can do to make sure the extension that forces Bing in Chrome isn’t installed. Additionally, the company notes what users can do to “easily stop using Bing as the default search engine.”
If your users decide they want to stop using Bing as their default search engine, they can click on the magnifying glass icon next to the address bar in Google Chrome and click the Use Bing as your default search engine toggle to the Off position.
Redmond’s pitch to make Bing the default search engine is quick access to company “files, SharePoint sites, OneDrive content, Teams and Yammer conversations, and other shared data sources.”
Twitter personality SwiftOnSecurity amusingly points out that the built-in “Windows Defender’s browser hijacker criteria would classify this behavior as malware.” In fact, Microsoft notes how the extension won’t be installed “if Bing is already the default search engine.” Many users share that same sentiment if the feedback is any indication.
— SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) January 22, 2020
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