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Elon Musk Slams Microsoft for Mandatory Accounts on New Computers

HomeTechElon Musk Slams Microsoft for Mandatory Accounts on New Computers

San Francisco, February 26th, 2024 – Tech billionaire Elon Musk made waves this week with strong criticism aimed at Microsoft over their policy requiring users to create a Microsoft account when setting up new Windows devices. Musk voiced frustration that new computers now force users to make an account before allowing functionality, granting the tech giant’s AI services access to personal data.

In a series of tweets, Musk conveyed anger over having recently purchased a new PC laptop only to find the setup process blocked without first making a Microsoft profile tied to the device.

“Just bought a new PC laptop and it won’t let me use it unless I create a Microsoft account, which also means giving their AI access to my computer! This is messed up,” Musk wrote. “There used to be an option to skip signing into or creating a Microsoft account.”

The SpaceX and Tesla CEO labeled the mandatory account as “not cool” of Microsoft,given it effectively grants them control over access. “But since they now require that you use their services just to use your computer, Microsoft can effectively shut off your computer!” Musk warned.

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Revamped Account Requirement Raises Privacy Concerns

Microsoft initially rolled out required user accounts over two years ago with Windows 11, marketed as improving both security and user experience. However, eliminating the option to opt out of creating a profile tied to the device has provoked backlash from critics like Musk concerned over privacy implications.

With an account mandatory, Microsoft services and AI tools can potentially monitor activity and access files on the computer. This grants significant oversight to the tech leader on data and usage patterns even for users not actively utilizing their suite of products.

Power to Disable Access Over Speech

Particularly troubling to free speech advocates was Musk pointing out how Microsoft mandating accounts also gives them authority to revoke software functionality based on arbitrary violations of conduct standards.

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“But since they now require that you use their services just to use your computer, Microsoft can effectively shut off your computer if they don’t like what you’re saying,” Musk reiterated.

This refers to the Microsoft Services Agreement allowing banning of user accounts – and thereby access on locked devices – for speech deemed inappropriate. With accounts required for core system operability, this means total loss of any Windows-based machine usability based on judgments over things said or posted online.

Windows 11 Account Mandate Marks Major Strategy Shift

Integration of mandatory user accounts for new Windows devices reflects a strategic refocusing for Microsoft overall into a subscription-centric service model under CEO Satya Nadella. Rather than just providing software sales, the tech leader now prioritizes recurring revenues from cloud, AI, and subscription programs.

Part of this shift saw Microsoft 365 bundle creation, combining Windows and Office tools into a combined monthly charge system. Critics now blast making accounts obligatory on computers as furthering this services push through obtaining vast data access and hooking device functionality itself into monthly fees.

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Musk himself has grown critical over Web 3 trends with major tech and social media firms transitioning core infrastructure into rented subscription frameworks laden with embedded trackers and speech oversight. The controversial mogul has even hinted at potential alternative models that decentralized ongoing Internet access away from dominant giants like Microsoft, Meta, and Alphabet.

Owning Twitter following a bitter legal battle, Musk has an even greater influential platform to potentially rally anti-mandate sentiments against Microsoft should this issue gain more steam. With one of the world’s most recognizable innovators leading the charge, required accounts on new hardware may evolve into a far bigger pain point for the industry giant than anticipated.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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