Microsoft won’t force Bing on Office 365 customers, after all

The plan caused an unsurprising wave of backlash online.

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Microsoft is reversing a plan to make its Bing search engine the default in Chrome for users of Office 365 ProPlus (yes that’s a real name). As you might imagine, customers did not take the plan well.

At least it listened to customers — Microsoft was going to install an extension on any system with Office 365 ProPlus that would force the browser to set Bing as the default search engine. The company says as a result of the backlash it will be making the extension opt-in rather than opt-out.

From a new blog post, here’s exactly what Microsoft says will happen now:

  • 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, specific settings will be added to govern the deployment of the extension to unmanaged devices.
  • Microsoft will continue to provide end-users who receive the extension with control over their search engine preference.

Have you learned nothing, Microsoft? — It’s kind of surprising that Microsoft thought this would fly. Maybe it knew it would be so difficult for its enterprise customers to go elsewhere that it thought it could get away with this. But still, considering that whole antitrust thing it went through in the ‘90s, it’s weird Microsoft tried. Maybe the lawyers knocked some sense into it.

Although Bing pales in comparison to Google, you might be surprised to learn that it’s actually a pretty large business. The search engine generates about three times more advertising revenue than Twitter. Maybe forcing Bing on people does work sometimes.