Seriously, What Is Going On With Microsoft Edge?

Seriously, What Is Going On With Microsoft Edge?
Screenshot: Microsoft

Microsoft Edge was once a good alternative to Google Chrome, and now it seems the browser is spiraling.

Just a few days ago, I wrote about how angry Edge users were bashing Microsoft for integrating a financing app directly into the browser. Now the software giant is stoking the flames by putting a warning in Windows 11 when users try to install Google Chrome from the Edge browser.

As discovered by Windows Latest, a pop-up alert now appears, discouraging people from jumping ship to Chrome. Microsoft seems to be using several different prompts, including the below messages (props to Neowin for finding these):

“Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft.”

“That browser is so 2008! Do you know what’s new? Microsoft Edge.”

“I hate saving money,” said no one ever. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping.

So let’s break these down. Obviously, the first two are somewhat contradictory. Why is it that Microsoft’s “new” browser also runs on the same technology as Chrome, which the company criticises for being old? Surely, Microsoft, in the past 13 years, could have come up with better technology. Oh, and the one Edge uses is called Chromium and was developed by Google. Then there is the “saving money” aspect, which leads back to the financing app that users are calling “sleazy” and “extremely unnecessary.”

For what it’s worth, Edge is (or maybe was at this point) one of Microsoft’s best new services and a legitimate alternative to Google Chrome. It’s fast, supports a wide range of extensions, and yes, there is a promos and coupons tool built into the browser that can legitimately save you money. You’d think Microsoft would do everything possible to preserve Edge’s goodness after falling behind in the browser war over the past decade. Instead, the company seems to be doing everything in its power to make Edge worse.

Apart from guilting people into staying with Edge, Microsoft has made it increasingly difficult to change browsers. In Windows 11, users must dig into the settings and manually assign a default app to every specific tile type (HTM, HTML, PDF, SVG, etc) so their preferred browser opens when they click on a web link. Workarounds, like the EdgeDeflector tool, simplified this process until Microsoft broke those apps by blocking the method they used.

In its defence, Microsoft isn’t the only company putting warning signs up whenever someone tries to leave their service. Google presents a similar pop-up to those Microsoft uses, urging people to switch to Chrome when they visit Google’s search engine within a different browser.

We’re not cool with any company applying pressure on its users so hopefully user backlash causes these types of pop-ups to get phased out. Who knows, maybe doing so would actually help Microsoft earn some of the trust it so badly wants.