Is Microsoft forcing Bing on Chrome users? People won’t like that sneaky plan – at all.

Microsoft quietly announced that it will change the default search engine of Google’s Chrome to Bing – Microsoft’s own search service – on personal computers running Office 365 ProPlus.

The ‘swap’ of search defaults within Chrome will begin next month and wrap up in July 2020. However, the timing depends on when corporate IT administrators have scheduled Office 365 ProPlus upgrades.

The change takes place beginning with Version 2002 of Office 365 Pro Plus, and it will affect both new installations and existing installations as they’re automatically updated. If your default search engine is already Bing, Office365 will not install the extension. Users who don’t enjoy the whimsical unrequested change to their defaults can opt-out or the extension itself can be removed, either manually or programmatically.

This new policy only takes place in specific geographic areas, as determined by a user’s IP address. If you aren’t in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, the UK, or the United States, you should be safe – for now, at least; and, assuming you don’t take your laptop on holiday or work-related travel to one of those countries during a time an Office update rolls out.

Microsoft says it may add new locations over time but will notify administrators through the Microsoft 365 admin centre if and when it does.

It comes as no surprise that the initial feedback about Microsoft forcing Bing on Chrome users was almost universally negative. Users really don’t like Microsoft’s sneaky plans. Some users even asked if the company is “out of their mind”. Another user posted – “browser hijacking like in the 90s. Are you nuts?” Others used phrases like “insanely stupid,” “keep smoking that good stuff, Microsoft,” and “sick joke” in their comments.

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