In 2001, the United States government filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoftalleged that it had abused monopoly power by linking its Internet Explorer browser with its Windows PC operating system. The lawsuit was eventually settled, and the effects of the settlement ended in 2007, but Microsoft is tentative about how aggressively it pushed its browser on Windows to others. It looks like Microsoft is ready to start the browser wars again, though, with a new effort to stop people from downloading Google Chrome.
Microsoft has reportedly implemented a feature in Microsoft Edge that aims to prevent users from downloading Google Chrome through the web browser. If Microsoft Edge users browse to the download site for Google Chrome, they will receive unsolicited prompts from the browser insulting Chrome and encouraging users to stay with Edge. Microsoft Edge does not actively prevent users from downloading Google Chrome, but does try to steer users away from the deceptive buttons.
If users visit the Google Chrome download website they may be sent several different messages. These messages include, “‘I hate saving money,'” no one ever said. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping,” “That browser is 2008! Do you know what’s new? Microsoft Edge?” and “Microsoft Edge, with the added trust of Microsoft, runs on the same technology as Chrome.” These messages are accompanied by a button with its own quote. For example, a button reading in a purchase message It’s like, “Shop smarter now.”
That button will surely turn users away from the Google Chrome website. But what’s especially disappointing is that there’s no clearly indicated button saying “Stay” or “No, thanks.” There’s a little “X” in the corner, but it’s easy to miss. The intention is clearly to keep users on edge, and Microsoft is ready to test what users may feel is appropriate for doing so.
As of October 2021, browser usage reports claim that Google Chrome is used by anywhere from 52.5% to 66.7% of Internet users. Edge, on the other hand, is reported to be used by 3% to 4.6% of browsers. Microsoft clearly has room to grow, but Chrome’s market dominance will be tough to maintain without aggressive efforts.
For comparison, Apple’s Safari browser is similar to Microsoft’s Edge, as it is the default browser on iOS devices. However, as of iOS 14, Apple makes it relatively simple for iOS users to move away from Apple’s Safari and Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or several other browsers; There are certainly no signs to warn users not to switch. MicrosoftK’s changes are bound to be controversial, as they sound uncomfortable in 2001.
In a recent update, Xbox One and Series S/X users get access to a newer version of Microsoft Edge, which provides some additional functionality.
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