Microsoft Keeps Making Its Edge Browser Worse for Some Reason

Microsoft Keeps Making Its Edge Browser Worse for Some Reason
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft can’t help but undermine itself, it seems. After launching the new Edge browser last year to widespread praise, Microsoft has seemingly done everything possible to ruin it, including imposing unwelcome features and intrusive restrictions.

The latest blunder integrates a short-term financing app directly into Edge, a move users are enraged about, as reported by Ars Technica. A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced that it would build the Zip (formerly Quadpay) app right into its browser. The financing app lets shoppers purchase a product upfront but pay in smaller “often interest-free” installments in the future.

Zip is unique in that it doesn’t use interest rates but instead charges $US1 (A$1.40) for every instalment (loans are typically paid in four installments over six weeks, so $US4 (A$6) extra) so long as payments are made on time.

The service itself isn’t what’s making Edge users glance in the direction of Chrome, but rather, it is Microsoft’s battering ram of third-party services constantly bombarding people with “look what we added, now use it” notifications.

Made apparent when reading through Microsoft’s support forums is that people just want a browser that is quick and gets out of their way.

“This all feels extremely unnecessary for a browsing experience. I don’t want it,” user Jason Tenpenny wrote. “I don’t even want the shopping and discovery features y’all have pushed out. These kinds of things should be separated into extensions. I am way more interested in a lightning fast browser that uses minimal resources while being secure. Edge on Mac is getting heavier and heavier.”

“This is just sleazy, Edge is on the verge of feeling dirty to use,” another user wrote. “Edge is not just any random browser, it’s the (increasingly hard to change) default of the most important desktop OS in the world.”

These complaints come after Microsoft was slammed for pushing Edge onto users who updated their PCs to Windows 11. Edge appears throughout the browser upon initial startup and is sure to ask you to “set as your default browser” should you even dream about switching over to Chrome, Firefox, or the many other browser options available.

A bigger problem is how painstakingly difficult Microsoft made it to switch browsers, and to make matters worse, the software giant blocked third-party apps like EdgeDeflector from providing workarounds so you could use alternatives in the search bar and the new Taskbar widget.

Now Microsoft is pushing a financing service that not only invades your browsing experience but could also open the door to cybersecurity threats. Microsoft hasn’t clarified how much browsing data, if any, is made visible to Zip or how it plans to keep the app secure. We’ve reached out to the company to get some answers.

For what it’s worth, Microsoft says it “does not collect a fee for connecting users to loan providers,” though it didn’t specify whether it receives any share of transactions. It makes you wonder why Microsoft would add this service in the first place. If it did so because it thought Zip would be a genuinely viable option for users, then it should have no problems removing the financing app after reading the growing number of complaints.