I stepped off my computer for dinner after writing a story for The edge. When I came back I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Windows 10 had restarted my computer without permission to install another forced operating system update on my solid-state drive.
The craziest part: when my computer finished restarting it now contained exactly what I wrote about before I was roughly interrupted. Microsoft had unwanted, unwanted web app versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook installed on my computer.
OK, it’s not as bad as having my entire computer screen taken over by an unwanted copy of Microsoft Edge. That was really outrageous.
No, this time Microsoft is just sneaking unwanted web apps onto my PC – and using my Windows 10 start menu as free advertising space. Did I mention that icons for Microsoft Office apps were magically showing up on my Start menu even though I have never installed Office on this computer?
These aren’t full free copies of Office, by the way. These are just shortcuts to the web version that you can already access in a web browser of your choice. These also serve as advertising to pay for a fully functional copy.
Since these are web apps, it’s not that they take up space on my computer, and I don’t mind if they show up on my Start menu. They’re some of the least obnoxious bloatware I’ve seen, and I never really look at the Start menu anyway – my taskbar and search bar have lasted me long enough.
However, they are the latest evidence that Microsoft disregards your ownership of your own PC, the latest example of Microsoft installing in a Windows update up to and including bloatware, and the latest example of Microsoft caring more about the bottom line as if some people might lose their jobs if Windows suddenly shut down their PC. Luckily I didn’t lose a job today, but a friend of mine recently did the following:
Microsoft seems to believe that our computers are free ad space, a place to selfishly advertise their other products – even though they were flatly told in the 90s that even bundling a web browser was not okay. Now they bundle a browser that you can’t install and a bunch of PWA web applications that launch in the same browser. (Yes, they’ll start Edge even if you’ve set a different browser by default.)
As I pointed out earlier, decisions like this undermine the one gut Argument Microsoft actually has for mandatory updates – that they provide critical security patches that keep computers (yours and others) safe. This is a harder argument when the most noticeable difference after a new update is trying to make more money!
To like ZDNet Seasoned Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley notes that this is not just an experiment that happens to some Windows insiders. I am not signed into the Windows Insider Program on this PC. The company hasn’t decided to respond to Foley’s requests for comment yet, but let’s see if that changes next week.
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