Microsoft: We're halting Office 365 email tips plan after user flak

Microsoft reconsiders plan to turn on email tips to Office 365 business users by default.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft's plan to begin sending Office 365 business users email messages with tips on how to use its suite of apps has been put on ice for now.

The company last week informed admins that on November 29 it will start sending Office 365 and Microsoft 365 users email tips explaining how to get the most out of the suites and boost productivity.

Reddit quickly lit up with complaints from admins who didn't appreciate that Microsoft would enable email tips functionality by default in the Office 365 admin center.

Despite a simple way to disable Microsoft tips across an organization, the plan drew a range of negative criticisms and some constructive feedback.

For example, email messages from Microsoft could undermine past phishing-awareness training to educate users that Microsoft would never contact them by email.

Some thought the tips emails could be used by attackers as a phishing template. And others didn't like the idea of Microsoft deciding what tips their end-users should see without admins vetting them first.

SEE: 50 time-saving tips to speed your work in Microsoft Office (free PDF)

Within days of informing admins of the plan, Microsoft posted an update informing admins that it was "pausing the release of this feature" while it reviewed feedback and suggestions.

"Based on your feedback, we're making some updates to the plan for users to receive helpful product training and tips via email," Microsoft said.

Microsoft suggests it will at some point attempt to rerelease the feature and provided steps to disable it ahead of time in preparation for the change.

Reddit users have claimed victory that complaints about the feature prompted Microsoft to reconsider the plan.

"Last week Microsoft announced they'd be emailing out various things to end users. This morning I see they've paused to reconsider this terrible idea," wrote one user.

Not everyone was against the idea of end users receiving email tips. As one user pointed out, it could be useful if Microsoft queued up the helpful tips emails so that IT or the business can review them and then decide which to approve for distribution.

And a consultant was sympathetic to Microsoft's attempt at offering free user training, arguing that sysadmins don't do enough to get users to adopt the full suite of Office 365 apps, which drives CIOs and business leaders to complain to Microsoft that their investments in IT capabilities are being underutilized.

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