As expected, Microsoft has backtracked on its plan to force Office 365 Pro Plus users to use Bing as their search engine in Chrome.
“We’ve heard concerns about the way we were planning to roll this value out,” a new post to the Microsoft Tech Community forums explains. “Most importantly, we heard that customers don’t want Office 365 ProPlus to change search defaults without an opt-in, and they need a way to govern these changes on unmanaged devices. Based on your feedback, we are making a few changes to our plan.”
Microsoft will no longer install the Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension for Chrome automatically, a change that would have resulted in that browser’s default search engine changing to Chrome. Instead, administrators will be able to opt-in to deploy the browser extension to their Office 365 ProPlus users, as God intended. And for now, deployment of the browser extension will only occur via AD-joined PCs, but Microsoft will add a control that will let admins roll it out to non-managed devices in the future. And “we will continue to provide end users who receive the extension with control over their search engine preference,” Microsoft says.
Because of this change, the Microsoft Search in Bing extension will no longer ship with Office 365 ProPlus version 2002 as expected. Microsoft says it will announce an updated release timeline soon.