To improve its image, Microsoft needs to open up

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 8, 2016
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Microsoft

Microsoft has a track record of being extremely tight lipped when it comes to the decisions it is making. The company expanded this even further with the release of Windows 10 by releasing cumulative updates left and right that don't reveal anything about what is actually being updated.

That's not the only thing concerning users however. Privacy in general is a hot topic and while some  -- like Ed Bott -- believe that customers have nothing to fear from Microsoft collecting telemetry data, others have issues trusting Microsoft on that as the company does not reveal exactly what is being tracked and does not provide options to disable all the tracking.

The main issue here is not that data is being collected, it is Microsoft's secrecy when it comes to telemetry on Windows 10 and that there is no off-switch available.

No one knows what is being collected exactly and how fine grained the information really are. Sure, we know what Microsoft reveals here and there in the operating system and on its website, but the information is far from complete which leads to guesswork and rumors.

For instance, Windows 10 users can switch the feedback & diagnostics data setting from full to enhanced or basic, but not disable telemetry completely unless they run the Enterprise version of the operating system.

windows 10 telemetry

A simple question that many privacy-conscious users would love an answer for is why Microsoft allows Enterprises to disable the sending of device data completely, while the option is missing from other version of Windows 10.

That's just analytics, some say, not different from websites tracking their visitors or Google or Apple tracking mobile users.

But there is a difference between the data that you make available when you visit a website, e.g. your browser version and operating system, and the data that you have on your PC.

Many users have important (to them) data on PCs, from private photos and documents to their browsing history or passwords. I'd argue that data on PCs is usually more important than data on mobile phones or tablets, and definitely more important than data handed over to websites when users are connecting to them.

At least some users want to be sure that their data is safe, and the best way to do that would be to disable telemetry and other data collecting activities completely, or for Microsoft to reveal exactly what it is collecting and what it is not touching.

If that is known, users can make an educated decision in regards to telemetry and data collecting, and either keep the feature enabled, tone it down, or disable it completely if Microsoft provides them with that option.

Windows 10 is without doubt the main focus currently, but the OneDrive incident highlights the same issue.

Microsoft announced a while ago that it would limit paying OneDrive customers to 1TB of data instead of unlimited data, would reduce paid storage upgrades from 200GB and 100GB to 50GB respectively, and cut free storage for users to 5GB.

The reason given at the time was that some customers abused the unlimited data Microsoft made available for all Office 365 customers.

This did not add up, as it made no sense to limit free customers for instance because of this, but it took Microsoft weeks before it revealed -- in passing -- that the reason for the decision was completely different.

It boiled down to simple economics, that unlimited storage was not economically feasible for the company.

Had Microsoft mentioned that to customers at the time of announcement, things would not have boiled over in such a extreme fashion in my opinion.

Now You: What should Microsoft do in your opinion?

To improve its image, Microsoft needs to open up
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To improve its image, Microsoft needs to open up
Find out why Microsoft needs to open up and be more transparent when it comes to the decisions it is making.
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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

    1. E. Fromme said on September 29, 2023 at 1:32 pm

      EMRE ÇITAK posts are useless because they are fraught with inaccuracies and are irrelevant.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

    1. Howard Allan Pearce Jones said on October 1, 2023 at 4:28 am

      Rreedom of Association is one of our most important rights. Some people think it’s Freedom, but no, I say Rreedom is far more important. There are many STATE-MANDATED associations that save jobs, that’s right MANDATED. I can’t name any of them, but rest assured they are bad, because saving jobs are bad, and people having jobs leads to dictatorship!!! Anyone who disagrees is too radical for Ghacks maybe, because I’m not sure.

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

  9. sean conner said on September 27, 2023 at 6:21 am
  10. Sherry Grant said on September 29, 2023 at 7:47 pm

    What does this article about Musk/Tesla have to do with computing, devices, phones?
    More irelevant filler.

  11. Anonymous said on September 29, 2023 at 8:47 pm

    yeah sure… they are always the victims and it is only against them ????

    Believe them 100% and never question anything. This lawsuit sounds like the type you heard when people were eating batteries.

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