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Microsoft forces Bing into Chrome

January 24, 2020.

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Microsoft announced today that future Office365 Pro Plus installs and updates will include a Chrome extension that forcibly changes the default search engine to Microsoft’s own search engine, Bing. Yes, you read that right. What’s more, it will do so without warning. Sysadmins can’t wait! If your default search engine is already Bing, Office365 will not install the extension. This new “feature” will only take effect in certain countries at first: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, United Kingdom and United States. Why this change? The cynics are saying that Microsoft has so much money that they wouldn’t mind paying the prestigious amount of 611 million dollars that the Redmond giant was fined by the European Union for “abuse of dominant position”, or even beating Google’s record-breaking fine of 1.5 billion dollars for “abusive practices”. Microsoft’s actual stated reasoning for the change is to automatically enable Microsoft Search within the user’s browser. This adds Microsoft Search results to standard Internet search results when a user types a string into the browser’s address bar—meaning the search results will be populated by hits from internal documents, emails, Teams conversations, and more. The wisdom of schooling users to search for internal, likely confidential data in their Web browser’s general-purpose search bar is questionable.

Ars Technica, Jim Salter, “Microsoft’s sneaky plan to switch Chrome searches from Google to Bing.”