There are times when Microsoft just can't help itself.
Those times include today, yesterday and always.
For the longest time, Redmond has pressed, prodded and persisted in trying to force human beings to only use Microsoft products.
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Why, just the other day Microsoft tried to tease me into moving up the line for the new AI-powered Bing chat by suggesting I make Microsoft my default everything.
Now, it seems, the company has gone back to another form of pernickety, performative perturbation.
I'm indebted to, and sympathetic with, Taras Buria at Neowin who discovered that having the temerity to install Chrome while using Edge Canary incited Microsoft's ire.
As the download started, a full width banner ad appeared. It pleaded: "Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft."
And without the added mistrust of Google? Or does only Edge enjoy the added trust of Microsoft while, say, Word doesn't?
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As I've wondered so very many times before, why is this necessary?
Edge is a perfectly fine product. Doesn't advertising such as this feel grotesquely paranoid? Doesn't it merely suggest that Microsoft's marketing of Edge has been found more wanting than successive UK governments?
This all made me ponder quite a bit.
Edge's market share has hovered at 6% for a little while now. Is Microsoft becoming doubly frustrated that Chrome is still at around 50% and Safari at around 35%?
But I wanted to be fair. Well, as fair as I'm able. Well, at least attempt a drift toward fairness.
I wanted to see whether this was an isolated Canarist pose or more widely prevalent. So I searched for Chrome using Bing. Quite literally. I just performed a search.
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Instantly, a large ad appeared at the top. It read: "There's no need to download a new web browser."
Please forgive me, Microsoft, but who are you to tell me about my needs? Do you really know me that well? I rather think you need to pipe down a touch.
But ad continued: "Microsoft recommends using Microsoft Edge for a fast, secure, and modern web experience that can help you save time and money."
Oh, perhaps I forgot to mention. I performed this search using the Edge browser. Following it, I was a little more on edge.
This absurd paranoia and, some might muse, dribbling neediness lurched toward the profoundly grating. It's like your recently-met lover refusing to let you leave the house until you tell them where you're going. And why.
And it's not as if Microsoft doesn't just dislike me searching for Chrome. When I searched for Safari (in Edge), I got this big ad: "You're already browsing in Microsoft Edge."
Gosh, am I? Thank you so much. I simply hadn't noticed. But thank you, I prefer Firefox actually but I was just doing this search to see what (I feared) you'd say.
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Microsoft wasn't done. The copy added: "Keep using to get world class performance with more privacy, more productivity and more value."
Would you believe I got the same message when I performed a Bing search in Edge for the Opera Browser?
And then there was a quirk.
When I Binged "Duck Duck Go," there was no hurt message. Had Microsoft acquired a conscience? Lordy, no. For when I Binged "Duck Duck Go browser," there was the "You're already browsing in Microsoft Edge" waddle toward twaddle.
I opened Chrome. Was Google upset when I searched for Microsoft Edge?
But it never said a word about it.