Microsoft Finally Admits Its Malware-Style Windows 10 Upgrade Sales Pitch Went Too Far

from the self-sabotage dept

We've talked a lot about how Microsoft managed to shoot Windows 10 (and consumer goodwill) squarely in the foot by refusing to seriously address OS privacy concerns, and by using malware-style tactics to try and force users on older versions of Windows to upgrade. While Microsoft's decision to offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 made sense on its surface, the company repeatedly bungled the promotion by making the multi-gigabyte upgrade impossible to avoid, which was a huge problem for those on capped and metered broadband connections.

But at times Microsoft made things even worse by engaging in behavior that would make even the lowest scumware peddlers proud. Like that time the Redmond-giant began pushing Windows 10 upgrade popups that pretended to let users close the popup dialogue by pressing X, only to have that begin the upgrade anyway against the user's wishes.
Between this and the company's outright refusal to let users control how and when the operating system phoned home, Microsoft managed to take a relatively successful OS launch and turn it squarely on its head -- largely by ignoring some of the most basic principles of design, customer service, and public relations.

Now that the Windows 10 upgrade push is long gone, the company actually got close to acknowledging that its behavior went too far. Speaking on the Windows Weekly podcast, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela finally acknowledged that the company mishandled the entire forced upgrade (though he falls short of apologizing or addressing the parallel privacy concerns):
"We know we want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective, but finding the right balance where you’re not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried and for a lot of the year I think we got it right, but there was one particular moment in particular where, you know, the red X in the dialog box which typically means you cancel didn’t mean cancel.

And within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, with the listening systems we have we knew that we had gone too far and then, of course, it takes some time to roll out the update that changes that behavior. And those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us. We learned a lot from it obviously."
Except Microsoft didn't really "get it right," and users made that abundantly obvious. And whether Microsoft actually "learned a lot from it" really isn't clear, since a refusal to let users truly control how the OS works (whether it's preventing the OS from being quite so chatty or letting users dictate upgrade schedules on their own terms) has been somewhat of a recurring theme since launch. That "we know what's best for you" mentality has been bone-grafted to the company's DNA for some time, and we'll likely have to wait until Windows 11 to see if any lessons were actually learned.

Filed Under: push, upgrade, windows 10
Companies: microsoft


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  1. icon
    OldGeezer (profile), 29 Dec 2016 @ 6:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think I'll just have 2 computers One would be my 8.1 to use offline. I already have a second machine with identical hardware. My son set up networking with it and an old single core 7 so he could probably do the same with Linux. I could keep anything personal on 8 and there would be no need to update. I'm wondering, If you completely turn off updates will it nag you? My genuine Windows key should work but if not I could click through the nagging or find a crack. My programs would continue to work. Some of them have lifetime updates so I could download the newest versions from Linux. Maybe instead I could try dual boot put Linux on a flash drive. My son could teach me to use it. I think he said that you can just copy Windows Firefox roaming straight to Linux and keep all your settings and passwords. You are right that going online without security updates is risky. I wouldn't do it.

    I only have a VPN on a virtual. Some sites don't like to see you logging in from different locations. I got locked out of Facebook and played hell getting back in. Some cloud services would do the same.

    Upgrading to 10 could cause some of my programs to be incompatible anyway. When I went from XP to 7 I lost several programs including an automotive scan tool that cost me around $2,000. I still keep a couple XP laptops. I'm retired as a mechanic but my car is an 07 and the scan tool goes up to 09. Switching from 7 to 8 I only lost one little used program. I'm not even sure if my hardware is comparable with 10.

    I'm wondering if Microsoft hasn't already slipped in a few bricks in a monthly package on a timer. I used to regard them as somewhat sneaky but right now I think they are pure evil. I still have 30 clones going back several months and a few that are a couple years old.

    It's great to have a son that is a computer genius. I don't have to talk to some guy in India I can't understand who is nowhere as good as him. He has written programs and scripts for me when there was nothing available to do what I wanted.

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