I love Microsoft Edge. But if it doesn’t get less boring, I’ll change again

Enlarge / If Microsoft really wants to “put you first”, it needs to fine-tune its strategy with Edge.


I’ve been a Microsoft Edge user for a little over two years now, since the first preview version of macOS was released. As with many decisions, I arrived there using a combination of evidence-based reasoning (it works on all platforms I use, it maintains the speed and compatibility of the Chromium engine, its use of the memory and battery and privacy controls seemed at least marginally better than Chrome) and gut feelings that seemed fine tome regardless of whether they are factually true (giving Microsoft more personal data bothers me less than giving it to Google and a large company’s browser would be better supported in the long run than smaller browsers and less used as Courageous Where Opera).

I’ve mostly been happy living on Edge since I switched, and I certainly don’t miss Chrome. But over the past few months, I’ve been increasingly annoyed by some of the “value-added” features Microsoft has added to the browser and the way Microsoft pushes Edge on people who use Windows (and Bing on Windows). people who use Bord). This annoyance came to a head with Microsoft adding a buy-it-now service called Zip to the latest version of Edge. This addition seems superfluous at best and predatory at worst, and it has caused a backlash among users, Technology supports adjacent to Microsoft, and IT professionals.

One of the many screens you'll see in Edge prompting you to reset your default search engine to Bing.
Enlarge / One of the many screens you’ll see in Edge prompting you to reset your default search engine to Bing.

I don’t like the Zip integration and have no plans to use it, but I wouldn’t be so bothered by it if it wasn’t part of a pattern that emerged (or, at least , has become more evident) over the past year or so. The price and coupon comparison features that Microsoft added about a year ago generate a huge amount of automatic pop-ups by default, and when you turn off those pop-ups or turn off the features altogether, they don’t sync with your users. other PCs as well as your bookmarks and other settings.

Windows also has continued to use irritating fullscreen messages that ask you to switch to Edge if you are using another browser after a certain operating system and browser updates and asking you to use Bing in Edge if you’ve changed your default search engine (and many years later, Bing remains a worst-of-both-worlds search engine, with less accuracy and usefulness than Google but none of DuckDuckGo’s advantages in terms of confidentiality). Microsoft made the browser switch a bit more annoying in Windows 11, and the company is disable workarounds which were used to bypass the deep integration of Edge and Bing into Windows.

These automatic coupon pop-ups are ubiquitous in Edge if you don't turn them off manually.
Enlarge / These automatic coupon pop-ups are ubiquitous in Edge if you don’t turn them off manually.

Andrew Cunningham

I understand the need to keep adding new features to Edge over time. This is the fate of all Chromium-based browsers – you have to distinguish yourself from Chrome without affecting the compatibility of the underlying Chromium engine or support for Chrome extensions, and stacking new features and services on the browser is the key. easiest way to do this. I’m also not totally against Microsoft reminding people that Edge exists and asking people to switch the first time they set up a new Windows PC; all browsers include some sort of pop-up on changing your default browser settings, and Edge is much more usable and competitive than it was in the early days of Windows 10, when Microsoft was still trying to use its own. rendering engine.

But purchase and payment supplements seem to be too far a bridge. It’s one thing to offer these features as optional add-ons or as default features that you can enable when you first install the browser or when you install a major update. It’s another to offer them automatically, everywhere, to everyone, whether or not they have these features disabled on another computer.

And the incessant reminders to switch to Edge and use Bing, even when you already choose to use Edge in the first place, signals a fundamental lack of respect for the user’s preferences and their ability to make their own decisions. When you switch from Safari to macOS or iOS, Apple doesn’t give you pop-ups begging you not to change or show you a full screen message trying to get you back to Google’s search engine when you set up a routine. operating system update. The financial considerations are different: Apple doesn’t have its own search engine that it tries to monetize, so the company doesn’t really care what software you use as long as you do it on Apple hardware, but it doesn’t. can not bother people about their browser preferences once they have set them.

I still think Edge is a good browser. I’m not yet ready to put all my favorites away and switch browsers. But the types of tough tactics Microsoft is using to promote Edge and the types of features the company is adding to do make the recommendation more difficult. Microsoft should reconsider what types of features it adds to Edge and how it chooses to promote and activate them, and the company needs to be confident that Edge’s market share will grow over time due to the merits. browser, not because Windows tricked users into accessing it.

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