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Finnish consumers now protected against unauthorized installations by Microsoft

Staff Writer |
The Finnish Consumer Authority has reached an agreement with Microsoft that the company will no longer install applications into the computers of consumers in Finland without their explicit consent, Kauppalehti reported.

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The Authority and Microsoft have also agreed that Microsoft will not change the meaning of symbols on the computer screen from what the consumer is used to.

For example, in its "Get Windows 10" application preparing the installation of Windows 10, Microsoft changed the command of the "x" button in the upper corner of the frame.

The button usually means "close" or "cancel", but Microsoft decided it meant "ok" or "begin". Thus, if the consumer pressed the "x" to close, he or she actually accepted beginning the installation process.

The Consumer Authority determined in an investigation that started in 2016 that the actions by Microsoft were in contravention with Finnish consumer protection legislation.

Contacted by Xinhua, the Media Agency Hill+Knowlton that handles communications for Microsoft in Finland referred to the announcement of the Consumer Authority. The Agency said Microsoft had not published anything further about the agreement.

Finnish media reported the Finnish users' problem with unsolicited installations of Windows 10 from mid-2016. At that time, local Microsoft management denied any unauthorized installations and explained that the installation of "Get Windows 10" had become "a recommended update". They also said the change had been mentioned in their blog.

At that time the Finnish Consumer Authority gave no official comment on the marketing of Windows 10, but the authority's lawyer Miina Ojajarvi told media that she thought "a mention in a blog is not sufficient".

In its decision published on Monday, the authority said an enterprise must give essential information to the consumer. "The entrepreneur cannot presume that the consumer gets information about a product on his own or would seek information via complex internet links," it said.

The Consumer Authority said the consumers had to separately "opt-out" the installation instead of being required to accept, or "opt-in" the installation. The Authority determined that this was unreasonable.

The Finnish Consumer Authority had established that the "Get Windows 10" was a tool for direct marketing that had been installed without the consent of the customers.

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