Driving users to the Edge
Microsoft’s new version of the Edge
browser is excellent. Imagine Chrome with a lot less bloat and a lot less tracking. Imagine Brave with no ads and a less in-your-face approach to privacy. That’s Edge. It runs your Chrome extensions, and runs a lot faster than Chrome does these days. There’s even a full-on adblocker built in natively, if you want it.
You should definitely try Edge, especially on Windows. But while Microsoft has moved on from the bad old days of Internet Explorer, some things never change. The Verge reports
on the tactics being used to force the new browser on Windows 10 users:
Seriously, when I restarted my Windows 10 desktop this week, an app I’d never asked for:
1/ Immediately launched itself
2/ Tried to convince me to migrate away from Chrome, giving me no discernible way to click away or say no
3/ Pinned itself to my desktop and taskbar
4/ Ignored my previous browser preference by asking me — the next time I launched a website — whether I was sure I wanted to use Chrome instead of Microsoft’s oh-so-humble recommendation.
It’s spammy tricks like this that put people off software. They’re tactics more aligned with malware than high-quality software.
Microsoft has done so much to shift public perception of itself. Under CEO Satya Nadella, the company has shifted from a ‘dominate everything’ strategy to something far more nuanced, focused around being central to cloud technologies. And Windows 10, Office, and all of the company’s consumer software is so much more pleasant to use now it fits around the customer’s life rather than forcing users to contort their behaviour to suit Microsoft.
But it seems some old habits die hard. Aggressively forcing Edge on Windows users smacks of the kinds of ugly tricks the company pulled in the '90s. Hopefully they realise this, as a positive brand perception can easily be ruined by a slip-up or two.