Microsoft has backtracked on plans to forcibly change the default search engine of companies using Office 365, following backlash from IT departments worldwide.
Microsoft had initially intended to ship the Microsoft Search in Bing extension for Chrome with a forthcoming update for Microsoft Office 356 ProPlus (a version of the software suite designed for business users).
This decision was met with dismay from system admins, who would be forced to reverse the change manually or face a barrage of calls from confused staff.
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Microsoft seemed to have anticipated such a response, and had prepared an extensive FAQ page explaining how to toggle it off or prevent the extension installing. This wasn’t enough to appease admins though, who aired their grievances on Github and accused Microsoft of resorting to ‘malware tactics’.
Now, as The Verge reports, Microsoft has had a change of heart. “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.
The controversial browser extension is still coming, but will no longer be activated by default; instead, admins will have to toggle it on themselves. Microsoft is also planning to give admins more control over how such updates are rolled out to devices that aren’t managed centrally (particularly handy for companies with a bring-your-own-device policy).
Microsoft is going to rethink its timing as well, and is no longer planning to send out the extension next month. Hopefully by then, it will have found a way to put control firmly in the hands of IT departments.