One of the first things I do when I perform a fresh install of Windows is open up Edge and download Chrome. In October, when Microsoft releases the newest build of Windows 10, might be a little more obnoxious.
Windows Insiders—PC users who’ve signed up for advanced preview builds of upcoming Windows software—have noticed a quirk in upcoming build 1809. When a user downloads and installs Chrome or Firefox, Windows will pause the installation and attempt to get the user to stick with Edge.
Microsoft already promotes Edge when users search for Chrome or Firefox on Bing. Someone using Microsoft’s search engine to find browser alternatives gets a nice big promotional ad above their search explaining why Edge is the superior browser for Windows 10.
Windows Insiders with Windows 10 version 1809 installed report that installing Chrome and Firefox takes an extra step. When a user begins the install of a new browser, a pop-up with a smiling man appears on the screen. “Microsoft Edge is the faster, safer browser designed for Windows,” the text below him reads. Below that is a big blue button that opens Edge and a smaller, grayed out button that allows users to “Install anyway.”
Users can circumvent this interference by turning off app recommendations in their settings, but this is still a slimey move on Microsoft’s part and all too similar to a time when it attempted to destroy Netscape and Mozilla in the late 90s. In 1998, the United States Department of Justice sued Microsoft and accused it of violating antitrust legislation because it integrated Internet Explorer into Windows and made it hard for users to install other internet browsers.
To avoid getting split apart, Microsoft proposed a settlement where it promised to open its APIs to third parties, and allow a private panel access to its software for five years. Justice rejected the settlement but lost the case in the court of appeals. And now, years later, Microsoft is still trying to force its browsers on users.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.