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Office 365 "The fine print" popup message - is it legitimate?

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I am adding myself so I can be kept up to date on this issue. 

 

I am not about to agree to something I know nothing about that is supposedly coming MicroSoft without confirmation.

Yes, I often actually read (or at least quickly scan) EULA's before accepting, and it's astonishing what we agree to, but there's not a lot of choice, realistically. I sometimes download them, so I may have a copy of the original somewhere -- but I'm not really objecting to their changing the terms of the EULA. They have that right, and we have the right to accept or reject. And I'd be surprised if Microsoft *doesn't* have the legal right to change the terms unilaterally at any time despite the fact that we've paid for a year. I think it's called a contract of adhesion - which basically means they have all the power.

What I'm objecting to is the heavy handed approach (and it's effect on my productivity.) A reasonable approach would be to announce the change and give us EUs notice that the product will cease to function after two weeks (or whatever period of time) if the terms are not accepted. Their decision to take the product hostage is a scene right out of Homeland or Mr. Robot - makes everyone think it's a virus, when it's probably just Microsoft being Microsoft.

 

Btw, Microsoft's virtual agent has been "connecting me to a live agent" for over an hour now. And the wait time was zero . . .

Maybe the virtual agent didn't accept the EULA update and has been locked out of ... err ... Skype ...

Hello Anna - it would be nice if we could also count on you to be responsive to the original issue - is this pop-up actually from Microsoft? I think most of the people here are very unhappy with the way that Microsoft has handled this, but almost everyone would be happy to click on 'accept' and get back to work if we can get a confirmation that it is legitimate.

We are escalating this - Sorry that I haven't responded, but Eric is in my team and we're both working to get someone from Microsoft to respond officially.

I don't have Office 365 and I'm still getting this message! I bought the programs outright.
Are other folks who bought the programs having this issue?

Very annoying that there was no advance warning from Microsoft about this. It's causing a lot of disturbance for people who don't just click any old box that pops up on their screen.

Where are you Microsoft??

Really?  You think it's perfectly acceptable for Microsoft to retroactively change the terms of the agreement and if you don't like it you can no longer use the software you purchased?

I can kind of understand it if it was Office 365.  That is something you knowingly lease and pay for on a monthly basis.  It's about $8.25 per month, so you're not out a lot of money if you decide not to continue.  Microsoft Office 2016, however, retails for around $400.  It is not supposed to be some monthly rental type arrangement.  We should be able to use this software in perpetuity without having to submit to some revised terms at a later date.  

I feel like I have been robbed!

James;

I do not agree with Microsoft's coercive behavior.  I loathe the way they just do whatever they want and push out sub-standard software and then leave us without support.  My personal philosophy is that Mr. Gates was never an OS genius but a marketing genius.  However, being responsible for a company full of desktops and just wanting the users to continue working means that I have to accept things the way they are.  I guess we could all explore alternative software but it might be a little late for that.  I am just grateful that this time, at least, it wasn't some malware trying to destroy us.  I am also grateful for one resource left to us, namely blogs like this one.

I was on a chat with Microsoft support, and he repeatedly refused to answer my question of whether this was a legitimate Microsoft popup. I asked 4 times and even resorted to all caps, but he simply would not answer.
We refused to accept this revised agreement and just downloaded LibreOffice. Fortunately, only one user was affected and she seems more than happy to simply use webmail and LibreOffice. All our other computers are on Office 2010 and 2013. They continue to work just fine.

BTW  I read the other day that Microsoft might be moving to a "Desktop as a Service" model.  It might be a good time to start getting comfortable with Linux.

We just got off the phone with Terry from Microsoft 365 Technical Support.  According to Terry, Tech Support has not received any information about this pop up.  He said we should only see this pop up when 365 is initially installed/activated.  It is OK to Accept.  My version of the Agreement really didn't say anything....it didn't look like the standard Microsoft agreement.  Hope this helps!  (I also had pulled up my other Business 365 programs....all of them had the same pop up.  But once I accepted the Outlook one, none popped up again!)

No, I didn't say it was acceptable. I said that if you read the EULA, I think you will find that it is their legal right. I intensely dislike our current system, which amounts to 'take it or leave it," but I don't want to live in a cave. And I agree that it's even more outrageous for those who purchased Office 2016.

Damien,

Apparently you didn't read that many of us Office 2016 users are seeing the same "Fine Print..." popup message as the Office 365 users. As you noted, we purchased, and we OWN our copy of msOffice, so there shouldn't be any revisioning the purchase terms two years later.

hi,  I noticed that the popup license agreement text says 'last updated September 2017'.

And, the 'fine print' popup displayed when launching Visio Pro 2016 only references Visio, and not the entire suite of Office apps.

 

Apparently, similar scenarios have occurred in the past;  this is just one example that showed up in search results with a last edited date in 2018:  https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/884202/you-must-accept-the-office-end-user-license-agreemen...

 

And, I only noticed the popup late yesterday.

 

I'm also being a bit cautious, though that might change shortly, as I use Office daily, and alternatives won't meet my req'ts.

 

hi,  for some reason my original reply was marked as spam and removed?  

to recap, I noticed that the popup license text says 'last update September 2017';  the popup displayed when launching Visio Pro 2016 only mentions Visio and not the Office suite.

and, a search for similar scenarios found a few similar instances.

 

Not sure how that's considered spam.  :)

btw, I also mentioned that I use Office daily, and that the alternatives don't meet my requirements....

I will share that as someone else suggested, I successfully used "Restore" to revert to a one week earlier saved configuration - seems to have worked in removing the popup.  I can now open my .docs, .xlsx, .pptx files without issue. 

Would still like to get to the bottom of this and know if it is something Microsoft did or if it is a potential Trojan or Malware issue....  I believe the earliest post was on Sunday July 29... How long before Microsoft provides a meaningful response to this ?

James;
Thanks for the info on LibreOffice. Researched it. Probably going to download and set it up on a test box. We also have a mix of MS Office products, going back to Office 2007. Only the new Office is getting the message and only those that get their MS updates automatically. Thanks again.

It sounds strange that Microsoft support claims that they have not heard of it happening to anyone with Office 2016 since there are several participants on this forum that are in that situation and I spent a long time on chat explaining my particular case.  

 

Thanks for the tip, Peter.  I may try a system restore when I get a chance, but I'm really not sure.  The affected user seems happy enough using LibreOffice and accessing her email through webmail for now.

I received the "Fine Print" dialog this afternoon as well.  I have an Office 365 Account for home.  But the "Fine Print" dialog appeared on a machine at my work place running Office 2016 (without Office 365).  Our Corporate IT is not aware of any changes to our licensing.  We are somewhat reticent to simply agree to a "Fine Print" dialog without any details on how and why licensing suddenly changed.  This kind of thing is at least unethical.

Peter/Michael,

 

Great tip on the restore!  About an hour ago the Mrs. called me over in a panic, she didn't know what to make of the popup (she had just downloaded meeting minutes from a friend when it happened) but knew enough not accept anything she hadn't intentionally accessed.  I was a bit concerned because I have a legit copy of Office 2016 Pro and I accepted the EULA a couple years ago.

Anyway, my most recent restore point was and Automatic Restore Point from yesterday about 10 am.  Rather that just restoring it, I checked what would be affected. Only one program/driver would roll back  "Microsoft Office Pro....16.0.10325.20082"!  I suspect we has a smoking gun.

 

What pisses me off ever further is the amount of info I had to let MS snoop into just to post here.  I am one grumpy old man right now - will post restore results later today.

I am getting a popup in Office 2016 "The fine print

These Microsoft Home and Business 2016 apps are installed:

 

It blocks me from using the applications without clicking on the permissions...

Since I have a licensed application, this does not seem appropriate...

 

Even if it is a Microsoft behavior, it seems to open the possibility that my perpetual license for locally installed Office 2016 will be converted into a subscription to applications that I do not want.

 

I see that others are getting a similar message but it appears that resolutions are not forthcoming...

 

Please advise...

I'm experiencing the same problem.

 

Agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment!

 

MT

 

That does not work.   When you "x" the popup, the application shuts down.

... and just as important -- it is blocking access to the applications, with no evident remedy!

Note that this behavior is occurring in Office 2016

Note -- I am encountering the problem in Office 2016, legitimate copy...

... this does not seem to reflect the behavior when it occurs in Office 2016.

Do we have any Microsoft information about this issue?

Update - restore worked. Rolling back Microsoft Office Pro....16.0.10325.20082 allows me to access the Office 2016 apps (at least temporarily...) As MS becomes more and more intrusive, evaluating alternative office suites and operating systems may be necessary...the cynic in me wonders if, with all the electronics today, is privacy simply a memory of a previous generation and no longer maintainable. (Why are you laughing Alexa?)

My sense of it is that this suggests that this popup is Microsoft behavior.

Do others agree?     ... and why is Microsoft staying silent about the problem?

Hi Russ

The issue has seemed to go beyond the initial post of the prompt in Office 365 which makes sense to me as it's subscription based, but as you say is also causing grief in the Office 2016 space too.

I had a quick message exchange with Microsoft Community Manager Eric Starker and he is onto the issue and is trying to get a response from the relevant folks.

Guess we will have to wait and see what's happening!

Best wishes and good luck Russ.

Cheers
Damien

Hi Walter

Hope you are well.

Yes I completely agree with you that the earlier advice I gave won't help as we have discovered from other users that the issue has gone beyond Office 365 to Office 2016 which wasn't evident until users specifically mentioned Office 2016 as their software.

I suspect if you accept the terms then life goes on as is but some users appeared to have issues after they did that.

I eagerly await a response from Microsoft to hear how this one goes. Microsoft Community Manager Eric Starker is onto the case!

Cheers
Damien

 

P.S. Just saw your next post about getting access after accepting the conditions, hopefully everything goes well across the board. I understand that any updates to Office tends to happen through Windows Update so maybe (my best guess) that's why a download happens?

Hi Peter

Yup it became obvious in the discussions. I'm also waiting to see how this turns out but I suspect legally in the EULA for Office 2016, they have the power to do this and by using the product we have accepted the conditions.

You'd be surprised how many products actually can do this to you and more.

Hoping those of you with Office 2016 software get this resolved and back to doing what you do best!

Good luck Peter!

Cheers
Damien

... responding to the additional information -- two problems exist with this solution (one is the rogue behavior -- what other consequences are there with endorsing this malfunction)...    and the suspicion, which remains, that there's an underlying thread of designed behavior here which will take the application in an unacceptable direction...    "update" indeed!

Thanks to all who are moving this process forward!

I suspect that rolling back won't be a permenant solution as Windows Update will eventually download and install the update that has caused the pop up.

But Microsoft might fix the issue or withdraw the update which would stop that from happening.

Time will tell?

Cheers
Damien

Hi Damien,

 

Yes indeed time will tell, and I suspect I will have to decide if I want to give MS additional permissions to tip toe through my computers or take a hard look at LibreOffice.

 

I have a potential side effect of the role back to a previous date (or should I say the from receipt of the original Fine Print Popup that escaped the rollback?)  Post roleback, my wife's sign in can no longer access Microsoft news, weather, or money from her tiles.  Click and the app appears to open and then poof,  it is gone.  My sign in and admin are fine.  Have reset/repaired MS Store, News, Weather, Finance - didn't help. Uninstalled and reinstalled, didn't help. MS Diagnostics talks about needing an account but she already has a hotmail account as part of her profile - just hasn't saved a password in her profile.  I have wasted more time trying to recover from Win 10 damages that I'm almost ready to start missing ME.

Hi John

Rolling back has consequences which can suck as you see.

In the end I think you have to find and be happy with what works for you. I do love my Microsoft products, but one size doesn't always fit all users.

On a side note, I think with the trends in technology, we are moving towards a society that will monitor everything we do and where privacy will no longer really be private.

Think of cameras in cities and towns monitoring you, software that will track your movements, shopping habits, etc.

In the future (my prediction so remember me when I'm famous for it) there won't be on premises or locally installed software, it will be subscription based and there'll be limited hardware as we will use dummy terminals that connect through high speed internet to servers that housing virtual machines for all our computing needs (or our mobile phones like Samsung Dex which has huge potential IMO).

Also the English language will be essentially short text message style writing as people will forget to spell words properly and just like ancient Egypt that posted pictures on walls of cats and what not, we pretty much do that now 3000 years later.

And worst case if things go with with AI, we can bow down to our Skynet overload.

With regard to Windows, in previous versions we had the choice to install updates and now it's mandatory in Windows 10. You can't stop it from happening. Software vendors will dictate how we do things and their EULA will be their bible.

I just hope our laws catch up quickly and protect us from our data being used inappropriately. Like what happened to Facebook and Google.

Hilariously funny, way off topic, but also true, prediction is now over.

Cheers
Damien

Found this in admin center today, so it is acknowledged.

office_fineprint_advisory.PNG

But you could say the same of Apple (Jobs and Gates took the graphical OS idea from Xerox)  and any other organisation that creates an ecosystem that you are joining ... this behaviour is not Microsoft specific and inherent to the SaaS model across the globe.  Just to be clear I'm not defending this activity ..

I just clicked on a Word doc and it opened without any issues. No pop-up, no muss no fuss. Fingers crossed?

I also note that Microsoft's acknowledgement, above, acknowledges only the problem--it does not tell us whether it/is/was a MS issue or potentially malware. It's good to see progress, but it gives us no guidance.

And Microsoft's Virtual Agent is STILL working on connecting me to a live agent . . .

It is not mentioning malware because it is not a malware. One can click on the advisory to read details. I haven't read the details. It was enough to email my users to click Accept when it appears after Office updates. In our case it doesn't come up again and is not blocking Office usage. Have more pressing issues than a simple license agreement popup..

I'm starting to wonder if it would be useful to get an attorney involved.

That's the detailed information from advisory:

Title: Issues accessing Office Online User Impact: Users may receive an unexpected pop-up regarding the license agreement and may also be unable to access Office clients.

 

More info: When users receive the pop-up regarding the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA), clicking "Accept" should enable access to Office clients. Dismissing the pop-up may result in Office clients closing. The content of the licensing agreement has not changed.

 

Current status: We've identified that a recent feature update has modified the storage location of the EULA acceptance information and is causing users to receive a pop-up message prompting them to accept the user agreement. We've initiated the process of reverting this update to mitigate impact.

 

Scope of impact: This issue may potentially affect any of your users attempting to access Office clients. Start time: Saturday, July 28, 2018, at 2:00 PM UTC

 

 

So it was a technical bug which caused for the same EULA agreement which is shown when activating new product to be shown to existing users/installations. It is saying they are now reverting the faulting update.

In important ways, it is "malware" -- it is inadequately sourced, so it could be "spoof'ed"...

The behavior is clearly wrong -- i.e. prompting for accepting a license that has already been accepted...

... and, even if it is Microsoft's mistake, there is no way to determine that it is harmless without triggering unknown events...    (so, for example, it is entirely possible that it would be "accepting" additional activities that a user did not want...)

 

Thus, users should not be clicking on something like this...    it should only be happening at an install sequence...


@Mark Tompkins wrote:

In important ways, it is "malware" -- it is inadequately sourced, so it could be "spoof'ed"...

The behavior is clearly wrong -- i.e. prompting for accepting a license that has already been accepted...

... and, even if it is Microsoft's mistake, there is no way to determine that it is harmless without triggering unknown events...    (so, for example, it is entirely possible that it would be "accepting" additional activities that a user did not want...)

 

Thus, users should not be clicking on something like this...    it should only be happening at an install sequence...



@Mark Tompkins wrote:

In important ways, it is "malware" -- it is inadequately sourced, so it could be "spoof'ed"...

The behavior is clearly wrong -- i.e. prompting for accepting a license that has already been accepted...

... and, even if it is Microsoft's mistake, there is no way to determine that it is harmless without triggering unknown events...    (so, for example, it is entirely possible that it would be "accepting" additional activities that a user did not want...)

 

Thus, users should not be clicking on something like this...    it should only be happening at an install sequence...


I heartily agree!  I was a little shocked at an earlier post that read, in part, "It is OK to Accept.  My version of the Agreement really didn't say anything....it didn't look like the standard Microsoft agreement. "

This is not normal behavior for a product that was installed months or years ago.  Simply clicking "Accept" in boxes that pop up out of nowhere is a recipe for disaster.

Completely agree - incidents such as this and the Windows 10 1803 BSOD update have all but destroyed my confidence in Microsoft.  Microsoft has a very real and serious credibility problem.

Hello Oleg K,

You have provided some information that you say is from a Microsoft advisory.. No offense, but I still would prefer to see a Microsoft response to this. 

Can you provide a link to the Microsoft website that contains this information ?  

 

For one thing, you listed "Start time: Saturday, July 28, 2018, at 2:00 PM UTC", but I was using Office 2016 applications without issue on Monday July 30.  I didn't see the popup until Tuesday July 31.

 

When is Microsoft going to respond to this matter ?   

Does Oleg K represent and speak on behalf of Microsoft ?

Oleg, thanks so much for tracking this down!  

While I had noticed that the license agreement text said 'last updated September 2017', I was concerned at the possibility of malware concealed by an apparently legitimate page of content.  

I even verify updates to products from Adobe and Malwarebytes, when they pop up, out of an overabundance of caution.  :) 

 

Thanks!

 

eta:  after reading others' replies, I'd also like to see an official communication from Microsoft. 

 

The screen image in Oleg's reply appears to be from the Office 365 admin portal, so presumably another Office 365 administrator can verify its provenance....

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