All is fair in love and browser wars. In a bid to claw back some much-needed market share, Microsoft is implementing a rather cheeky “feature” in its Edge browser. When users attempt to download Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, they are now confronted with a pop-up window warning them that Edge is “faster” and “safer”. No, really.
Microsoft appears to be adopting the strategy of certain political parties we won’t mention. Namely: If you can’t beat the competition, resort to fear mongering.
Here is the message that now confronts Edge users when they attempt to download a rival application from inside the browser:
You already have Microsoft Edge — the safer, faster browser for Windows 10.
The user is then given the option to stick with Microsoft Edge (highlighted in blue as the default setting) or “Install anyway” – which doesn’t sound alarmist at all. Some users have voiced displeasure at the new dialogue box, with developer Sean Hoffman summing up the online sentiment nicely:
@MicrosoftEdge What kind of slimy marketing cesspool crap is this Microsoft? I proceed to launch the Firefox installer and Windows 10 pops this up? If I wanted to use your browser, I would. pic.twitter.com/f7jk9sGvYA
— Sean Hoffman (@SeanKHoffman) September 11, 2018
“What kind of slimy marketing cesspool crap is this Microsoft?” Hoffman tweeted. “I proceed to launch the Firefox installer and Windows 10 pops this up? If I wanted to use your browser, I would.”
Currently, the warning is only present in fast ring test versions of Windows 10 via the Windows Insider Program.
In an official statement, Microsoft said it is “currently testing” this functionality and listening to customer feedback. If that’s true, we don’t imagine this process will make it into the next Windows 10 update. But stranger things have happened.
In any event, users will still be free to ignore Microsoft’s entirely baseless warnings about installing a rival browser. As Microsoft notes:
“Customers remain in control and can choose the browser of their choice.” How very big of them.