Microsoft forces Edge on Windows Mail users
Microsoft has been caught foisting its Edge browser on Windows 10 users, even if they have another option set as their default browser.
As part of a new feature in the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build for users in the Skip Ahead ring, any link clicked within the Windows Mail app – which is the default email client that comes preinstalled in Windows 10 – will automatically open in Microsoft Edge, regardless of whether or not it’s the system default.
Microsoft announced the change in a blog post ( bit.ly/edge446), claiming that Edge “provides the best, most secure and consistent experience on Windows 10 and across your devices,” adding: “As always, we look forward to feedback from our WIP (Windows Insider Programme) community”.
This is not the first time that the company has engaged in aggressive promotional tactics to increase the adoption of its browser. When users type the term ‘Chrome download’ or similar into Edge’s search bar (which uses Bing as the default search engine), they are greeted with a large banner at the top of their search results extolling the virtues of Edge and reminding them that it’s already installed on their PC.
Users trying to switch their PC’S default browser from Edge to an alternative via the settings menu are greeted with a similar message.
How will it affect you?
Windows Insiders are already using Microsoft’s Feedback Hub to complain vociferously about the change, accusing the company of limiting their freedom of choice and locking them into its own apps. Hopefully, this means that by the time the offending update is released to the public, Microsoft will have listened to the negative feedback and dropped this unwelcome and unreasonable restriction, allowing users to open emails in their preferred browser.
That said, Windows Mail is reported to have less than a 1% share of the email-client market, so it’s possible you won’t notice the change even if it is enforced.
What do we think?
Not again, Microsoft! We still remember the hot water the company got into almost a decade ago for forcing Windows users to browse with Internet Explorer. That led to Microsoft being investigated for anti-competitive practices and abusing its monopoly over the PC industry, but it seems that the company hasn’t learned its lesson.
Although this example of aggressive promotion isn’t as serious, Microsoft should acknowledge that not everybody wants to use Edge as their default browser, and give users a choice rather than making it for them.