Microsoft has become a services company. It would much prefer that people sign up for its subscription-based services than purchase its software outright, as demonstrated by it bad-mouthing Office 2019 to make Office 365 seem more appealing in February, and it unifies those services with a Microsoft Account. Hot Hardware reported Sunday that Microsoft is pushing those accounts during the Windows 10 setup process harder than ever.
Setting up a local account on Windows 10 was already a convoluted process: people had to make sure their device wasn't connected to the internet, confirm they don't have internet, click "Continue with limited setup" and then finally select the option to create an offline account. Otherwise the setup process would all but force them into setting up a Microsoft Account even though they really only wanted to use the system they had paid for.
So how could that process be made even worse? Hot Hardware said it saw multiple people claim on social media that the option of creating an offline account for Windows 10 had been removed entirely. But that wasn't the case; it had simply been made even more inscrutable. Now people have to follow the steps listed above, but instead of being asked if they want to create an offline account, they're given the option of "Domain join instead."
English speakers can say a lot with three words. "I love you" is the obvious example. "Where's my baby?" and "You're under arrest!" also speak volumes. But "Domain join instead" means nothing. The only reasons someone would choose that option would be A) they work at Microsoft so they know what it's supposed to mean, B) they're desperate enough to click anything at that point or C) they read some news posts about this change.
Microsoft wasn't content to rely on a meaningless three-word phrase to convince people they should just sign up for a Microsoft Account. On the next screen, an option in the bottom-left corner says "Or, even better, use an online account." We're pretty sure that anyone who got that far into this deliberately obtuse setup process doesn't actually think using an online account would be "even better" than using one local to their system.
It makes sense for Microsoft to push customers in the direction it wants them to go. But as the company makes setting up a local account even harder, it's hard not to think it would prefer to remove the option entirely, and would do so if the decision wouldn't prompt immediate backlash. Maybe for Microsoft's sake the people who don't want to set up a Microsoft Account just need to boil it down to just three words: "We're not interested."