[German]Microsoft has again dared to alienate some Windows users with ads for Microsoft 365. The affected users were blocked from accessing the Windows 10 desktop during a OOBE phase, because a full-screen banner permanently demanded ordering a Microsoft 365 test subscription including entering credit card data. Here's an overview of what's known so far.
First reports on reddit.com
I know from Microsoft sites that when I visit them, a banner is often rubbed under my nose, telling me that I am one of the chosen ones who are allowed to test Microsoft 365. Here is that German browser banner in Microsoft pages – and that's ok for me.
But Microsoft tries to sell its subscription stuff like "sour beer" to the people. The guys and gals from Redmond seem to have run into a bug the other day. The colleagues from Bleeping Computer have picked it up here, but I also got a feedback on my blog, reporting that.
On reddit.com, someone posted the above entry including video 2 days ago, which shows the misery. It says that Windows 10 prevents booting into the desktop. It is probably an OOBE setup dialog that is shown before accessing the Windows 10 desktop. This is not new, Microsoft collects user consents in this way every now and then.
In the current case, the page titled "Access granted: We're giving you a free trial of Microsoft 365 Family" prompts the user to test the software. Users then have only two options:
- "Try it for free" and "No, thanks."
- Those who click "No, thank you" are redirected to the Microsoft payment confirmation page
On the Microsoft payment confirmation page, there is apparently no other option for the user than to click on the "Start trial, buy later" option, according to reports. However, credit card details are then forcibly requested in order to pay for a $109 per month (I guess, it's 109 US Dollar per year) subscription after the trial period expires. Since there is no obvious way to skip this ad asking for payment details, users are only left with the option to enter their card details and cancel the subscription later through their Microsoft account. If users do not cancel, they will be charged $109 per month after the trial period.
In the reddit.com thread I have seen other users reporting this banner as well. We can currently assume a bug that the developers have encountered in this regard – and the whole thing only seems to affect some users in the US.
A user report within my blog
I had published the article Windows 11: Microsoft wants your credit card data in March 2022 here on the blog. The article suggesting that Microsoft was hunting for credit card data from users during the Windows 11 setup. Many of my blogs now act as a kind of honeypots. Just on February 1, 2023, the following comment was left beneath the article.
I just had the same experience when trying to reset Windows 10 on a laptop that won't support Windows 11. In the setup process, it wouldn't allow me past the "enter credit card" screen unless I said yes to trying out Microsoft 365.
If I said yes, I could proceed without entering a credit card. I subsequently declined everything else Microsoft was trying to push on me, like a OneDrive subscription.
I don't know that saying yes to the Microsoft 365 trial won't come back to bite me, but I intend to restore the laptop from a backup as soon as I rule out hardware issues (I had to reset Windows due to a BSOD problem).
I had seen the comment, but I didn't have the time to classify it correctly. Now it shows that Microsoft has once again tightened the thumbscrews for their Windows 10 and Windows 11 users – whether consciously or amateurishly due to bugs in the programming remains to be seen. Have you seen a similar ad on your systems? Could be isolated to US users yet, but could be the dawn of a new development.
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