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February 26, 2020

MS Reverses O365 ProPlus Plans to Bing-ify Web Search


On January 22, I blogged here about Microsoft’s plans to switch O365 Pro Plus subscribers who are also Chrome and Firefox users over from those browsers’ current default search engines to Bing. At the end of that post, I raised the question: “How is that going to fly in the marketplace?” As I suspected, these plans didn’t fly very far at all, nor are they coming to fruition, apparently. Here’s some interesting text from a recent Office 365 Blog post entitled “Update to Microsoft Search in Bing through Office 365 ProPlus” (dated 2/11/2020).

You did WHAT in that cup?

Ponder, if you will, the joys and sorrows of Microsoft in take-back mode. Here are two key items from the afore-cited blog post.

Item 1:

But we’ve also heard concerns about the way we were planning to roll this value out. Most importantly, 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.

Item 2:

Based on your feedback, we are making a few changes to our plan:

 

  • The Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension will not be automatically deployed with Office 365 ProPlus. 
  • Through a new toggle in Microsoft 365 admin center, administrators will be able to opt in to deploy the browser extension to their organization through Office 365 ProPlus. 
  • In the near term, Office 365 ProPlus will only deploy the browser extension to AD-joined devices, even within organizations that have opted in. In the future we will add specific settings to govern the deployment of the extension to unmanaged devices.
  • We will continue to provide end users who receive the extension with control over their search engine preference.

Can you say “Ooops! Never mind…” Of course you can! But importantly, it looks like Microsoft can do those same things, too. Most industry watchers expected some kind of reversal or retraction after the swell of indignant protests that the original announcement provoked. I guess this is it! At least, MS decided to take the path of discretion and forethought before inflicting this on Office 365 ProPlus users, most of whom do so in the workplace (and in very large numbers). And so things do get the occasional happy outcome, here in Windows-World.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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