Over the past few days, there has been significant criticism aimed at Microsoft for sneakily installing web apps and free advertising for its apps on your Windows 10 PC’s start menu. Criticism and rightly so. This was reported widely globally by the tech media and there was significant chatter on social media as well. Clearly, Microsoft heard the feedback and has confirmed that they are pausing the sneaky installation of apps that you didn’t want in the first place. Microsoft also says this partly happened because of a bug. All said and done, this is just another instance that reinforces the belief that you actually don’t own your Windows 10 PC, in its live and constantly updating avatar.
Microsoft has shared a statement with The Verge, which had pointed out last week how Microsoft force-restarted a Windows 10 PC that to install progressive web apps (PWAs) and used the Start Menu on the PC to advertise its Office apps. Microsoft also force restarted the PC, while it was being used for document editing and more. Microsoft has clarified, as reported by The Verge, that “the idea was that any website you pinned to the Start Menu would launch in Microsoft Edge, and it simply intended to turn those shortcuts into more visible tiles now.” The part where the bug plays its supposed role is that the update also changed existing Microsoft Office shortcuts on a Windows 10 Start Menu into PWAs to open with the Edge web browser. This behavior was reported even if the default browser on the Windows PC in question was something else, such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Firefox.
Microsoft also says they have been pinning Office web apps in the Windows 10 Start Menu since last year. That practice in itself may be a bit doubtful, since a user should have complete control over their PC and how they use it. Secondly, why would the PWAs override the default web browser choice set on a Windows 10 PC and instead open Microsoft Edge? Users have also reported that to install these updates that were downloaded in the background and without prompts or any confirmation from the user, the PCs were restarted without permission as well.