Moving On From Microsoft


I’m ready to move on completely from this evil husk of company. The Windows 11 disaster and Edgegate have finally convinced me. Not only is Microsoft just as unethical (if not worse) as they were in the 90s, today their products have become nothing more than second-rate ad delivery vehicles. I’ve used Windows for most of my life, including putting up with Windows 10‘s backsliding, but enough is enough. There are other options out there, and I will be sure to take them in the future. Office and the rest of Microsoft’s services are also more than replaceable as well, and I plan to do exactly that. 

Paul, I also think you have a responsibility to go beyond just speaking out and lead more concrete action against Microsoft’s disgraceful behavior. It’s easy to say not to use Edge, but the right thing to do is to commit to moving away from all Microsoft products, including and especially Windows, as much as possible. From reading the comments here, it’s obvious that many other readers of this site have had enough of Microsoft’s BS and would like to dump them for good. Now that Windows has become so unbearable, we would be very supportive of you doing this. You have a massive audience and good reputation, so using, evaluating and recommending alternatives to Windows and other MS products would make an impact for sure.

Comments (56)

56 responses to “Moving On From Microsoft”

  1. Paul Thurrott

    I hear you, but here's the problem: where are you going to turn? Apple and Google are even eviler than Microsoft. Linux? Maybe. But we spend more time on phones than PCs, and we can't escape the two biggest evildoers there at all.

    I've been struggling with this kind of thing for many years. For the most part, it seems like Satya Nadella's Microsoft is more ethical than other Big Tech firms. But when it comes to Windows, yeah. It's a problem.

    Anyway, sure. I will continue to examine alternatives. I feel like that's a regular thing for me.

    • zakand

      Maybe Apple and Google are worse (“eviler”) in general, but can you really say that the Windows division at MS is more ethical than its Mac or ChromeOS counterparts? That’s certainly not the case with Windows 11, and there is no advantage in quality there anymore either.

    • willr

      Paul why do you think Apple is worse than Microsoft? AT MOST, I would put them at equal in terms of evilness. Yes they're all evil but I think Apple is a clear step below Google and Microsoft. And right now, Microsoft seems emboldened and not in a good way (forcing Edge on people, blocking recent Surface computers from getting Windows 11 etc.)

      • crp0908

        I have a problem with Apple's "walled garden." I suppose if one tries an Apple device and gets enamored with it, one would succumb to the "walled garden" ecosystem. I like the flexibility of building a custom device that initially runs Windows but can also run any flavor of Linux as well. If Windows 12 is an improvement, I might consider going back to Windows. Otherwise, I will run Linux on it going forward.

    • hrlngrv

      Many may spend more time on phones than PCs, but not all. It'd be interesting to see worldwide data on this.

      If one's truly focused on one's phone, how relevant is MSFT? I wonder what % of smartphones have Office installed. Of those which don't, I wonder what % of them have NOTHING from MSFT at all.

    • navarac

      I look forward to Windows Weekly later today :-)

    • aretzios

      Paul, I think that you and other commentators are possibly somewhat responsible for this issue. Despite all the talk, I have not encountered any problems with browser choice in Win11. My browser is Firefox and, at no time, did Microsoft attempt or force me to select a different default browser. I am not sure where this reporting springs from.

      I agree that a company should not attempt to corral users to its own products unless there is a clear functional reason for doing so. However, it is best to see what is happening operationally before crying wolf and upsetting everybody

    • winner

      "Maybe Apple and Google are worse (“eviler”) in general..."

      Well Google I don't pay for an application and then have them sell me ads. Google is also pretty transparent if you care to read the fine print about their model. But Google has never tried repeatedly to deceive me by changing the behavior of a default dialog box so that I would be tricked into upgrading my OS, and they've not removed all the ways I could easily use a different browser.

      Apple isn't sterling clean either, but they've not done the above mentioned things either. They charge a high price and minimally deliver me any ads. And they actually have promoted encryption that has pulled the industry along.

      So sorry, but I still see Microsoft as still being the most callous of the three companies, and the most willing to disregard the users and manipulate the users to their advantage. And I don't like it, and won't support that.

  2. anoldamigauser

    The ads are the thing that are pushing me, but I can stay on Windows 10 for the moment where they are less egregious.

    I just got a new desktop for my wife, and was introduced to Windows 11. I cannot say I am impressed at all. The new page in Edge keeps adding back the row of suggestions, with the pre-installed links that I removed added back...don't know whether to blame HP or Microsoft. More ads for Microsoft services or products I already have...where is their vaunted AI, more like pseudo-intelligence. More crap to remove. More settings that need to be changed. If I had to run Windows 11 with the default settings, I would definitely switch.

    If Chris Caposselo does an appearance on Windows Weekly, I hope that Paul and Mary Jo grill him on this. He may not be responsible, but he is on the Senior Leadership Committee, and at the end of the day, they are responsible for this behavior.

  3. red.radar

    Part of me wonders if MS would be better if they took their division that does BING and divested it. I feel like this division pollutes good products with crapware that has to survive on ad-revenue.

    I view this division as a liability because they can say great things about privacy but a lot of messaging gets un-done by this division.

    • bkkcanuck

      I wonder if accepting Bing 'as a failure' and folding it or divesting it - might not be as much of a blessing to Microsoft as the failure of iAd was to Apple.

  4. juan

    The ads drove me off Windows to MacOS. The integration between my Macs, iPhone and iPads is amazing. So glad I finally ditched Windows for myself. The browser stuff is annoying as hell but the ads were the last straw for me. And I find nothing "evil" in MacOS myself. I don't think Microsoft is evil either. They just have decided to go somewhere I don't want to. Apple is much more in line with what I want at this point. It was kind of sad to leave Windows but there's still Xbox...

  5. christianwilson

    I think Windows 11 is alright. I was excited when I first saw it, disappointed when I first used it, and now I’ve come to like it. I don’t love it, but I like it. I have noticed Microsoft’s practice of trying to shove Edge and Bing services down our throats for years so the escalation in Windows 11 doesn’t shock me. I won’t stop using Windows, but I understand your frustration and encourage you to try to find an alternative.

    I’ve “moved on” from Microsoft, Apple, and Google at various points in my life but I always come back to them in some form. You can try it, and you might succeed, but all of these big tech companies do certain things very well and it’s hard to truly keep away. Also, there comes a point where you realize you are taking a stand that doesn’t hold up when you consider the user-hostile practices of the other companies you’ve gotten into bed with.

    For what its worth, Paul doesn’t have any responsibility to lead a revolt against Microsoft. He’s doing a great job as it is by reporting facts and offering an opinion. The rest of us can decide what to do with that information individually.

  6. hrlngrv

    All corporations are amoral. Whatever they do, their primary goal is making profits, secondarily increasing revenues. To the extent customer/consumer good will serves those ends, corporations may appear to operate ethically. However, it's only a contingent illusion.

    One implication of that is that corporations aren't evil. They're just indifferent to morality. There's a trade-off between the services Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and MSFT provide and the privacy they erode in compensation for providing those services. Me, I care no differently for what Google does with my browsing and purchasing data than what Amazon does with similar data. Having grown up in the US, it becomes 2nd nature to IGNORE ANY & ALL ADVERTISING. Perhaps that's self-delusion, but if I believe I can ignore the ads, I don't care how Google or Amazon monetize my data.

    As for Apple, I don't use anything from them, so don't care what they inflict on those who do. Ditto Facebook.

    As for MSFT, I do still use Windows and Office. I do quietly loath Excel without MDI, but I can live with it. As long as I can replace various desktop UI components, I welcome the under-the-hood improvements and replace the UI crap I don't like. I seem to have uninstalled enough bundled crapware that I never see Edge unless I launch it myself manually. As long as Windows remains customizable, I have no problem using it the way I want. If MSFT ever removes such customizability, I'll switch to Linux as close to full time as I can.

  7. travlinman

    Nothing is perfect. I was a MS enthusiast for many years, but it has been slipping for years. As Paul, Brad and Mary Joe comment on, with the different directions the company heads in, then drops the product or service like a hot potato and moves on with the next great wiz-bang just to be dropped later.

    The lack of clear direction and cohesive communication can be extremely frustrating for all.

    In my opinion, they do have a solid product line up with Windows and related software - for the most part, Windows is more stable today than it has ever been. Kudos.

    The MS hardware lineup, for the most part, helped set the industry direction and standard for the PC makers with Solid, innovative designs that function very well. Was long overdue IMHO - again - Kudos

    Introducing ads in Windows, IMHO - is a step in wrong direction and is going to lose a lot of goodwill bonus points in the home and tech enthusiast arena.

    For my own personal and professional use, I have been slowly migrating to Apple. Starting with the iPhone 6s, after Microsoft killed the Windows phone (Nokia - 8 bln down the drain) and dropped support (really liked that phone). Since then added a iPad, upgraded the phone and tablet recently as well as adding an M1Mac Mini to the lineup in early summer. Still use the PC's for most professional work, but the Apple lineup continues to grow on me for my personal life. The cohesiveness between the devices is a pleasure, taking calls, texts, emails, web on whatever device I am on, and seamlessly pick up on another has been wonderful. Another unseen promise from MS.

    I have really enjoyed Windows as well as the other hardware and software MS has developed and sold over the years, But for me -'The Thrill is Gone' .

    I will put MS in the toolbox and continue to pull it out and use it as needed.

    Technology evolves as we must also. Use what works and you are most comfortable with..

    • angusmatheson

      Why an M1 Mac mini and not aN M1 MacBook Air? Just curious.

      • wright_is

        It is cheaper and slightly faster. If you already have a screen, mouse and keyboard, it is a much cheaper way to get into macOS.

        If you need portability, obviously the MacBook Air or the 13" Pro are better options, but if it is going to spend all of its life stuck on a desk, attached to an external display, why waste precious resources and money on unwanted batteries and a display?

  8. sherlockholmes

    I have the luxury of owning an Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC version from the government agency I work for. So im on Windows 10 until 2029. What happens then? I dont know yet. I hope they will change Windows 11 by then to the better. But I have little hope for that.

  9. scoop

    Some folks are looking for Windows 11 too high up and too far away. It's not magic. On several desktop and laptop PCs I run a mix of Mint/Ubuntu and Win 10. Once you debloat it, lock down privacy settings, install Classic/Open Shell and emphasize Win32 programs over UWP, Win 10 works quite well. I run it like it's Win 7.5. I might move on to Win 11 someday on the one PC that will run it, but no rush. The default browser lockout is troubling behavior, but I don't see it as a call to war, the way some do. Those folks have options.

  10. moruobai

    Where have I seen these comments and debate before? This thread reminds me of Windows Phone.

  11. justme

    I feel your pain - as other posters here do. Between the ads, telemetry, and now continually trying to force me to use what Microsoft want me to? Yeah, not a fan. The question is, what to do about it. As the others have said - your choices of Apple and Google are not much better. Nothing is perfect. Fortunately, at least for the time being, Windows 10 is still available - and while it has cruft of its own, it isnt as aggregious as Windows 11 IMO.

    For me, I'll watch, listen, learn - and stay off of Windows 11. The number of things I really need Windows for is quite small - small enough that I could run Windows in a VM under Linux. Pop!_OS and Zorin are both highly polished. Zorin in particular is very Windows-migrant friendly, maybe even moreso than Mint. While Linux has it own issues, it is becoming preferable to Microsoft's nonsense. Several members of Paul's community have already made the jump to Linux (at home, anyway. Work will always dictate what work wants.). If Microsoft continues down this sort of path, I wont be far behind.

  12. j5

    I left Windows in April for Apple, for the M1 Mini because I never used a Mac before and I’m into tech. But I’m under no illusions that one of these tech companies are morally better than the other. They’re corporations after all, come on. There are thing I like and dislike about all of them. But I think you’re being kind of dramatic with the morality and evil talk. I mean default browser issue…there are actual evil things going on in the world. Our tech is important to us, least in this bubble we’re in on the internet. But leaving Windows after only being on it just because if you click a widget link or search in the Start menu for web results opens Edge…I think is dramatic. I mean do you actually do web searches from the Start Menu? And the widget hype is going to crash quickly. People use their preferred browser to look up and read news, not a tiny widget. I understand the tech frustration but I think you’ll regret leaving Windows over this because you’ve been using it for so long. You’re 100% going to find stuff on Mac, Linux or Chrome that will bug the ? out of you because Windows does it better or you’re used to it. Explore and experiment with other OSs but don’t live Windows because of widget and Start Menu searches open Edge.

  13. chowbiz

    I don't understand. Microsoft is giving away Windows 11 without charging you. I got Windows 10 for free too. I got Windows 8, disaster though it was, also for free. So I'm going back about 10 years and getting free upgrades. They used to charge for those. Yes, there's something insidious about the ads and being pushed to Edge, but as long as we the public continue to demand everything for basically free, we're going to need to moderate our expectations. I'm sure my current Dell XPS with Windows 10 included a license and I'm sure that Dell paid for it, but that was Windows 10. Just not sure I see the value in complaining about all of the major players who know that we're no longer willing to pay for operating systems when they decide that to recoup the cost, they have to give us crappy, poorly targeted, repetitious ads.

    • bkkcanuck

      I bought a NEW copy of Windows 7 Pro and I bought a NEW copy of Windows 10 Pro... so I did not get anything free. When you build your own DIY PC - you buy Windows - it is not free. Personally, I would prefer paying for the upgrade and having them not turn Windows into an advertising platform that does not perform optimally because of all sorts of crap in the OS to support advertising, telemetry etc.

  14. jimchamplin

    I miss the early 90s. When it was all much more a Wild West sort of situation. You could pick your flavor of DOS, be it MS-DOS, PC-DOS, DR-DOS, or any number of other alternative DOS versions. GUI? Great! Pick from Windows 3.x, GEM. Desqview, GEOS... there was no shortage of options. OS/2 if you wanted to be on the cutting edge.

    Now? You've got your three commwrcial options. And they're all seemingly growing more and more similar. At least with Linux you don't have to buy a whole new machine to run it on.

    In a lot of ways, this new Balkanized world is a return to the 80s. Only none of the computers are anywhere near as good.

    lol progress

    • bkkcanuck

      I would say Mac computers are superior to the 80s... I could never get into a 5ish display. The macOS now is a fully multitasking OS that is a UNIX (with source code available) and a custom UI that is superior to any one of the Linux distribution UIs available (I think the UI guys in Linux are on drugs) -- in fact one of the first things macOS did was replace the compositor -- something the Linux distributions are struggling to do now.

      • jimchamplin

        macOS has been a fully modern system for 20 years and Quartz Extreme replaced the original Display Postscript in version 10.2. I remember installing that release and enjoying how much snappier it was on my 450MHz G4 tower!

        The technical details have been discussed ad nauseam at different times, but even macOS isn't really new. Remember, in one form or another it's been around since 1989. I'm not sure what makes the UI "custom" so much, but it is their own original design based on the HIG of the original Mac OS. In a lot of ways it rewinded the Macintosh UI back to the System 6 era. I liked System 6, though, so that's good!

  15. innitrichie

    Given how well Apple's transition away from Intel is going, this is probably not the best time for Microsoft to be giving people a gentle nudge towards considering the competition. The new M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros are super-impressive.

    That said, I'm sure the data is telling Microsoft that monetising the web browser is the best way to make money from home users on Windows 11. They're struggling to gain meaningful marketshare for Edge organically. So they are becoming more desperate and aggressive in pursuit of pushing users where Microsoft needs them to be.

  16. ianw789

    I have an idea: Let's all rage-quit Microsoft due to the default (yep, just a default) browser lock-in, and instead we can all work exclusively with Apple hardware and (non-virtualizable) macOS. Freedom!

    Seriously though, Microsoft is burning goodwill here. I can maybe see doing it for Home, but not Pro/Enterprise SKUs.

    • bkkcanuck

      I think you are understating it. When Microsoft makes it much more difficult for you to use what you want on the OS for the sake of it's ads business... it is not just a 'default' problem (which you can fix by changing the default) and be done with it. I liken it to you wanting to have a Zen experience with the OS of your choice and Microsoft is trying to annoy you a bit at a time on purpose. The more you fight with your OS platform, the more it pushes you away.

      • ianw789

        Fair enough. I've disabled the ad-type annoyances and have a quite satisfactory setup in Win 10.

        Thinking about it more, it does always amaze me how oblivious non-technical people are to their browser and search situation. How many questions do we all get that start with "When I go to Google ..." where "going to Google" could mean a dozen things other than browsing to This, I think, is why Microsoft is so keen to take some ownership within that ill-understood space. But, yeah, not a good look.

  17. rob_segal

    Microsoft is a business and businesses exist to make money. That applies to Microsoft, Apple, Google, and any other company on the face of the earth. With that said, Microsoft is not more unethical than they were in the 1990s. That's a bit of an overreaction, but overreacting to things seems to be the norm these days. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.

    If you are frustrated and want to try another ecosystem, no one is stopping you. However, you can't judge the position of the majority of a website's readership based on comments. It may not even be many of the readers. MacOS and ChromeOS is discussed on this site. There are people who prefer Windows and just want it to be better. They're not looking to change ecosystems. There are also people who like Windows 11 more than 10. I'm one of those people. I prefer simpler user experiences and Windows 11 is a closer step towards that than 10.

  18. jchampeau

    I'm with you in spirit and even bought myself an M1 MacBook Air to start the process. Although I appreciate Apple's stance on privacy and how well-designed many of their products are, I find macOS to be particularly limiting. I switch back to Windows for certain tasks like using my Windows-only wireless design software or even just friggin' Visio. Not to mention usability things like Aero Snap. At the end of the day, Microsoft's firm grasp over the enterprise makes it difficult to wholesale swap to another platform, so to me, our efforts are better focused on getting them to change their ways.

    • aways987

      Head to the Mac App store and get an app called Magnet. This replicates the functionality of aero snap. Makes using macOS much easier for a Windows user.

      With the M chips in Mac I would expect to see more apps become available on macOS in the next 5 years simply because of the performance Apple Silicon offers and the ability to make iPhone/Mac/iPad Apps using a common codebase.

      • txag

        The very fast compiling and rendering times using M1 chips can translate to higher productivity for people with substantial salaries. It wouldn’t surprise me to discover that more and more cpu-intensive software starts showing up for M1 machines.

    • bkkcanuck

      Where I would use Visio, I use an application called OmniGraffle (Omni software is quite good overall) -- which I find quite good on macOS (not sure about the iOS version). I have not used Visio in maybe 10 years, so I could not do a good comparison at this point, but OmniGraffle does everything I need it to.

  19. yaddamaster

    I'm with you in the frustration. I'm perfectly comfortable with switching to OSX but as Paul pointed out - Apple is really no different and Google owns the largest OS out there. And I use my phone almost as much as my desktop.

    What it does mean is that I'm comfortable with evaluating alternatives and moving away when it comes time to purchase new hardware. And frankly I'm weary of Microsoft software as well. They're idiotic personal vs business account nonsense cost me an hour of time last night trying to figure out why my wife couldn't log into OneDrive.

    So when Scott Hansellman breathlessly announces this morning some new .NET updates I find myself saying - you know - I just don't care anymore. And I've been on .NET since it first came our and ASP before that.

    Don't get married to any one tech stack. That includes the applications you use on a daily basis.

  20. wbtmid

    I certainly agree with the original author's comment. Especially about the ads! also agree with Paul. Windows 11 started up with a clean interface that I liked, and still like. But, I am beginning to be more frustrated as time passes. It's all the cutesy crap being added over time. For example, the the bloody search bars everywhere. None of them EVER find anything close to what I an seeking! (Exactly why I don't use Bing!) If I get one more prompt about Microsoft's recommended browser setting seemingly every few days on an Edge update, I am going to loose it! Then there are the "features" that sneakily get added, i. e. Teams, that I don't want or need. And, all the Facebook (or whatever they are called today) products appearing uninvited on my start menu, and ready to be installed.

    The purpose of an operating system is to let me do what I need/want to do and get out of my way! Microsoft is more and more getting in the way. (For the record, I have been using Window since version 3.0, comfortable at the command line, if needed, and can work around most problems, even if I shouldn't have to!) I feel bad for the novice or non-technical users!)

    Microsoft is perhaps less evil than the other mentioned s, but that fact does not make it virtuous.

  21. remc86007

    Fighting the man sounds good in principle, but it often doesn't work out. I think it's a good idea for people to try alternatives whenever possible, but be careful not to hurt your own productivity and quality of life in a vain attempt to spite a company who doesn't care about you and won't notice if you leave.

    I find it interesting that you think the Microsoft of today is as bad as 20 years ago. I just don't see it. Between Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, I perceive Microsoft as the least bad.

    • navarac

      All these companies are as bad as one another. Their egos are so big that they think they are above the law and can run rough-shod over their product users. They certainly don't care about anything we may write about them on forums/twitter etc etc. - good or bad.

      • pecosbob04

        "Their egos are so big that they think they are above the law; please don't anthropomorphize these companies. They hate it when you do that.

    • shameer_mulji

      "I think it's a good idea for people to try alternatives whenever possible"

      Respectfully, what alternatives? The consumer technology space is owned by three companies: Google, Apple, MS. And now Facebook is getting into this space via their metaverse vision. it's an oligopoly at this point.

  22. lwetzel

    Pardon me but I don't agree. I have and have had very few things to complain about Windows 10 or 11. Yes, there are occasional hiccups but that has happened on macOS, iOS, and Linux in my experience. Back in the '60s, there was an irritating mantra. "Love it or Leave it." I hated that then and I hate it now. However, if you're not satisfied with Microsoft and/or their products just move on. For those of us who don't spare us the lectures on why we should.

    • bkkcanuck

      Pardon me, but at no time does he give you a lecture on why you should leave Microsoft. He does state he is fed up and says he is leaving and indicates the reasons, he tries to illicit support of Paul (not you) - for what ends -- I am not sure - maybe as a cry for help rallying the troops to try and get Microsoft to mend it's ways... He states that others on this site feel the same as him (since I have seen a few people that have switched or trying it out... I would suspect that is a good guess). But at no time does he indicate YOU should.

    • bkkcanuck

      BTW, at this point it is not a hiccup... it is active interference in what you are allowed to run and what how you are able to use applications. This was not a defect, this was a change first to make setting up your own default browser a very arduous task compared to Windows 11... and then having Windows actively ignore what you set as your default browser... then when you tried to install and use a workaround to 'correct the behaviour' they are hunting down that redirector app to make it not work or do what you want it to. This is more or less the result of Microsoft making their Windows upgrades free. With windows you paid for the upgrade in version 7, and installed it. They made the version 10 upgrade free and then actively made you upgrade - by hook or by crook. The reason for forcing this upgrade to version 10 is very likely their business plan had the upgrades being free and making money back on app store commissions... they could make more in app store commissions than upgrade pricing.... so they forced you to the platform with that app store figuring that they would make lots of money from those services... it failed horribly and the revenue from that did not materialize... Now they are stuck with no upgrade fee and no revenue... so they turned your windows installation into an advertising platform and as part of that they have their own browser collect data and direct you to use Bing... this is all an economic decision on the best way to drive revenues from Windows rather than a 'hiccup'. They found that their offensive behaviour from the forced upgrade to Windows 10 did not have any long-term implications so they feel free to make Windows work for them ... not you.... and they have become emboldened. If there is not enough push-back this time (and I am guessing there will not be enough), then they will continue what the OP indicates as their evil ways.

      • lwetzel

        Hope you feel better now. It comes down to your choice. Withdraw and they don't get you money and are not able to make money from you.

        • navarac

          You REALLY don't like it when anyone disagrees with you, do you? Glad I don;t live next to you - I pity your neighbours Iwetzel.

  23. harmjr

    I am not leaving Microsoft, Windows or Office. But the Fan Boy inside of me is dying. I have no desire to install Windows 11. I could rant more but that statement sum me up right now.