back to article There are nearly half a billion active users of Start news feed, says Microsoft

Lurking within Microsoft's Q3 2022 earnings reports last night was news that people are indeed still buying Windows PCs, and that half a billion customers are "active users" of the company's news feed, Microsoft Start. Microsoft Start is a personalized news feed "tailored to your interests," which at least some users, in our …

  1. msknight
    Joke

    Fixed it for you

    "There are nearly half a billion users who don't know how to turn off Start news feed, says Microsoft"

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Fixed it for you

      You jest, but I'd guess in most cases that's true.

      I've never actually turned it off because I use OpenShell instead and I suspect I probably count in that half billion because it probably background updates itself.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Fixed it for you

      Or, if the figures are to be believed(*)... There are nearly a billion users who have turned it off.

      (*) Windows now has 1.4 billion users

    3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Fixed it for you

      Just like the annoying weather widget I always see in the taskbar on other user machines

      1. Martin-R

        Re: Fixed it for you

        I quite like the weather widget; what I detest is all the crud that opens up if I'm not very careful with the mouse down in that corner of the screen. I suspect this makes me one of the half billion 'active' users!

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Fixed it for you

          Right-click the taskbar. Go to 'News and interests'. Untick 'Open on hover'

          1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

            Re: Fixed it for you

            I should probably check how to script this.

      2. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: Fixed it for you

        "...on other user machines." You and me both.

    4. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Fixed it for you

      "We asked the Windows-maker what "active users" meant in this context, but Microsoft has yet to respond."

      Those would be the truly lazy who know how to turn it off, but just can't be arsed. Microsoft's core customer base and mine when all the crap clogs up their PC and they have to pay me to fix it.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Fixed it for you

      "Start News Feed". Does anyone REALLY want Micros~1 OWNING their NEWS FEED? Maybe the same people who watch [P]MSNBC might, but it's currently one of the WORST RATED CABLE NEWS STATIONS based on viewership.

      This from 2020, suggests 'Resetting' the News [CR]app so that it no longer directs its ouput to the start menu, in order to get rid of it. Not sure if that's the same in Windows II or not. My guess, NOT.

  2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    "If Microsoft think[s] the tabloid widgets from a forced live icon placed on every Windows 10 and 11 taskbar is adoption, then it's not listening to customer feedback..."

    Yes, that is exactly what Microsoft thinks.

    As for customer feedback -- they do listen, but the problem is that no matter what the feedback actually says, what they hear is "as a user, I would like for Microsoft to exfiltrate and mine more of my private data for advertising and tracking purposes."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Feedback

      Those of us who don't want this stuff disable feedback. So the only feedback MS sees are those people who don't know how to disable the crud and keep accidentally clicking on the darn news thing as the start menu used to be there...

      Half a billion people swearing at clickin the wrong thing

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: Feedback

        Those of us who don't want this stuff disable feedback.

        That just stops you from receiving requests for feedback. They still get a metric crap-ton of "telemetry" that you cannot disable, which is effectively passive feedback.

        As long as you use* a feature and generate that sweet sweet user data, MS doesn't give a crap what you think of it.

        * i.e., "you do not kill it with Powershell and fire"

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      > "customer feedback"

      Misleading term, more appropriate would be "monetizable personal information"...

      Microsoft (or any other commercial entity) doesn't care about your petty whims, they only care about their bottom line.

    3. Wade Burchette

      Two of the most requested features in Windows 10 beta were a proper start menu and the return of Aero. Neither feature made it into Windows 10. I have concluded that Microsoft doesn't really want feedback; they want affirmation. In other words, if I told Microsoft "this weather thing by my taskbar is annoying and gets in the way, so get rid of it NOW!" gets immediately thrown in the trashbin while the employees put their hands over the ears and go "LA LA LA LA. I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" But if I sent feedback that says "I like what you are doing, just tweak this a little." then the Microsoft employees read that.

      I have been complaining for years on how Windows 10 auto installs drivers without my permission. That is something that should never ever be done, no exception.

  3. Ragarath

    Count me in

    I've accidentally clicked on it. That's the only reason I've been "active" with the shady install crud you don't want practices.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Count me in

      Switch it off. Just switch it all off! Can't stand that stuff.

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

        Re: Count me in

        Thanks for that. Have an upvote

  4. DrXym Silver badge

    Until they turn it off

    The first thing I did in Windows 11 and in Edge is turn off all the shit it inflicted on me without asking first. No I don't want to see a bullshit feed laced with clickbait ads throughout.

    1. Barry Rueger

      Re: Until they turn it off

      The first that that I do after installing Mint Linux is to disable CapsLock and... Nope, that's it.

      And the Cinnamon desktop is basically Windows XP.

    2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Until they turn it off

      The first thing I do with Edge (okay, the second thing after downloading Firefox) is something like this:

      c:

      cd "%PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Microsoft\Edge\Application\8*\Installer"

      setup --uninstall --force-uninstall --verbose-logging --system-level

      It would be very nice if I didn't have to, though. And the first thing I did with Windows 11 was avoided installing it in the first place.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Until they turn it off

      Could try installing Rectify11 which also gets rid of the sh*t MS inflicts on W11 users.

  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Linux

    I was

    one of the 1/2 a billion right upto the point I switched on my (note MY ) pc and got presented with 1/2 a ton of crud appearing.

    Then used edge for its one intended purpose

    downloading another browser before surfing a help site to help me turn off the crud (also turn off listening to the mic/watching the camera/feeding back almost everything I do to god knows where. )

    ahhh much better.... oh an update.... OH FFS I GOTTA DO ALL OF THE ABOVE AGAIN !

    Thank god this is just a games PC and not for real work (and thank gawd for linux mint too )

    1. Charlie van Becelaere
      Facepalm

      Re: I was

      "ahhh much better.... oh an update.... OH FFS I GOTTA DO ALL OF THE ABOVE AGAIN !"

      Precisely. I think that line should have read half a billion monthly activated users. Every patch Tuesday they activate half a billion again, then we all go turn it back off.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: I was

        So I wonder if legislation like Computer Misuse Act(s) could be brought to bear against actions like this. If I've removed an app or permissions, reversing my decision might be considered an unauthorised modification. Guessing the challenge would be that by consenting to MS's license, users consent to letting MS override any personal choices.

        But my new PC hopefully turns up next week, complete with Win11 Pro. I'm not entirely looking forward to dynorodding all the carp out of it. News will be high on the link due to the usual MS shite, ie content will be selected based on their interests, not mine.

  6. X5-332960073452
    Mushroom

    News and Interests

    Here's another court case I'm waiting for, (see title)

    Installed - without consent (Win 10)

    Set to always run - without consent

    Spying on location (weather forecast) - even with location turned off for the device

    Call the lawyers (not that I want them enriching)

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