Microsoft backtracks on forcing Bing extension for enterprise Chrome users

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Blocking the installation of the Chrome extension was still possible for IT admins, even without the change that Microsoft announced today.

Microsoft has backtracked on plans to forcibly change the default search engine of companies using Office 365, following backlash from IT departments worldwide. The change would take place in organizations when version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus was either installed or updated. This would have effectively forced Bing onto Office 365 ProPlus customers. "We heard that customers don't want Office 365 ProPlus to change search defaults without an opt-in, and they need a way to govern these changes on unmanaged devices", the company said in a support note. Administrators are being given the ability to opt in to deploy the browser extension.

The Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension will not be automatically deployed with Office 365 ProPlus. Microsoft had meant to force all users to receive the browser plug-in, whether they wanted it or not.

It also pledged to "provide end users. with control over their search engine preference". A more vaguely worded complaint in the Office 365 user-voice forum got just 39 votes.

Microsoft's rationale for pushing the Bing search engine to Office 365 ProPlus users had been that it's used as part of Microsoft Search, which collects organizational data for search purposes for users of Office 365 applications, as well as permitting Internet searches. For instance, Wikipedia's "Browser Hijacking" topic briefly included Office 365 ProPlus as a hijacking culprit.

Meanwhile, another commentator simply wasn't buying Microsoft's claim that "We've heard from many customers who are excited about the value Microsoft Search provides through Bing and the simplicity of deploying that value through Office 365 ProPlus". A techcommunity post from Microsoft announced the change. As you might imagine, that angered a lot of people.



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