In Finland Microsoft can no longer force applications onto PCs

Microsoft is still seeing fall-out from its campaign to upgrade Windows 7 users to Windows 10 in 2015/2016.

The Finnish Consumer Authority had established that the “Get Windows 10” (GWX) app was a tool for direct marketing that it had been installed onto PCs without the consent of the customers using the PCs.

Microsoft has now settled with the Finnish Consumer Authority and has agreed that it will no longer push applications on to the PCs of Windows users without their explicit consent.

Microsoft has also agreed not to use confusing user interfaces (so-called dark patterns) to trick users into choosing options they would otherwise be reluctant to choose.  In the case of the Get Windows 10 app Microsoft was accused of using the X button to signify agreement for an update instead of closing the app.

Microsoft had apparently claimed they had explained the changes to the app in a blog, but the Finnish Consumer Authority lawyer Miina Ojajarvi told media that she thought “a mention in a blog is not sufficient”.

“The entrepreneur cannot presume that the consumer gets information about a product on his own or would seek information via complex internet links,” the FCA noted.

The decision at present only appears to affect Windows 7 users, who are already no longer subject to forced upgrades, unlike Windows 10 users. It does, however, suggest that if enough Windows 10 users are perturbed by Microsoft’s policies it would be worthwhile to contact their local consumer protection organizations, especially in Europe, where there should be results, usually later rather than sooner.


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