Office 365 ProPlus: No forced Bing search for Chrome

[German]It’s a classic U turn: Microsoft now don’t force Office 365 ProPlus customers to install a Bing search extension in Chrome browser, as it has been announced in mid January 2020.


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Some Background

In January 2020 it was announced that Microsoft wants to force the installation of the Bing search extension in Chrome for Office 365 ProPlus customers. Microsoft had officially announced this in this support document Microsoft Search in Bing and Office 365 ProPlus dated January 17, 2020. At that time, it reads:

Starting with Version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus, an extension for Microsoft Search in Bing will be installed that makes Bing the default search engine for the Google Chrome web browser. This extension will be installed with new installations of Office 365 ProPlus or when existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus are updated. If Bing is already the default search engine, the extension doesn’t get installed.

Version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus should be rolled out in Febuary 2020. I had pointed this out in the blog post News from Microsoft about Chrome and Edge. Led to protests from customers who felt patronized again.

Microsoft changed its plans

Just as suspected, Microsoft has been forced into an u-turn. The article Microsoft Search in Bing and Office 365 ProPlus now says:

Important

Based on customer feedback, we’re making a few changes to the plan to roll out the extension for Microsoft Search in Bing. Because of these changes, the rollout will not start with Version 2002. For information about the changes, read this announcement. This article will be updated when more details are available.

There must have been a lot of pressure from customers. Microsoft felt compelled to publish the article Update to Microsoft Search in Bing through Office 365 ProPlus. It says: 

On January 22, 2020, we announced in advance that the Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension would be available on Windows devices via Office 365 ProPlus from the end of February. Since then, we have heard from many customers who are excited about the value Microsoft Search brings to Bing and the ease with which Office 365 ProPlus makes that value available. With the integration of Microsoft Search, Bing becomes a single search engine that allows users to find what they need, both within their organization and on the public Web. 

And then the office team admits that the original idea of forcing all customers to wear a ‘Bing-helmet’ was not a quite so great idea.


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But we have also heard concerns about the way we want to roll out this value. Most importantly, we’ve heard that customers don’t want Office 365 ProPlus to change search defaults without opting in, and that they need a way to manage these changes on unmanaged devices.     

Based on customer feedback, Microsoft plans to make the following changes to the plan for deploying Bing:

  • The Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension will not be automatically deployed with Office 365 ProPlus. 
  • A new switch in the Microsoft 365 Administration Center allows administrators to choose to deploy the browser extension in their organization through Office 365 ProPlus. 
  • In the near future, Office 365 ProPlus will deploy the browser extension only to AD-enabled devices, even in organizations that have chosen to do so. In the future, we will add specific settings to control the deployment of the extension to unmanaged devices.
  • Microsoft will continue to give end users who receive the extension control over their search engine preference.

Because of these changes, Microsoft Search in Bing Extension will not ship with the 2002 version of Office 365 ProPlus. Microsoft plans to provide an updated schedule for this rollout in the coming weeks.


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