MS Pushes Edge with Full Screen Ads in Win10

John Lister's picture

Microsoft is reportedly testing full-screen "ads" to try to persuade Windows 10 users to run the Edge browser. There may be no easy way to stop them appearing.

The messages are being displayed to some users after the most recent Windows 10 updates. They appear to be part of an A/B test in which two groups of users are shown different versions of an ad or message to see how the response differs. (Source: techradar.com)

Ad Appears After Update

The ads will reportedly appear on machines with Chrome or Firefox as the default browser in three circumstances:

  • When a user sets up a new Windows computer.
  • After a system update.
  • If and when the user clicks on a message in the Settings menu that reads "Get even more out of Windows. With a few quick selections, you'll be on your way to enjoying the full Microsoft experience."

The ad itself appears in a blue box on a black background that takes up the entire screen. It urges the user to "Use recommended browser setting. Get world class performance, privacy and productivity as you browser with the latest Microsoft Edge - the best browser for Windows 10."

Users then have two choices. The first, which is highlighted, is to "Use Microsoft's recommended browser settings" which will make Edge the default browser and pin it to both the desktop and taskbar. The second is to keep the existing settings.

No Easy Way To Block Ad

There's no button to close the window, though the user can click on the instruction "Skip for now" which is displayed in the bottom-left of the screen. It doesn't appear this will stop the ad appearing in future. (Source: windowslatest.com)

On the one hand, this move isn't affecting functionality and users certainly aren't being forced to change their browser.

On the other hand, it's perhaps surprising Microsoft would go quite this far to push Edge. Back in 2009, it agreed to prompt users to choose and install a default browser from a list of 12 during Windows setup following claims in Europe that "bundling" Internet Explorer as the default was anticompetitive. Microsoft was later fined $561 million Euros (approximately $650 million USD) for breaching this agreement.

What's Your Opinion?

Is Microsoft justified in showing this ad? Does it go too far to promote its own browser at the expense of irritating users? Or is it entitled to push its own products within Windows?

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Comments

Dennis Faas's picture

I have seen a similar full screen ad when forcefully updating a client's machine to the latest Windows 10 feature update. After logging the user in, it loads Edge and displays a fancy spinning Edge logo, then wants you to click on options. It's highly intrusive, and makes you wait in order to show you the demonstration with no way to stop it.

Showing these type of ads aren't going to make me want to switch any time soon. That said, I did just make the switch to Chrome from Firefox (after 15 or so years) because Firefox currently has a major memory leak where it's eating up 8GB of RAM or more and slowing the machine down something fierce. This happens when sitting idle overnight and gradually gets worse as the day progresses. Memory leaks have been an issue in the past with Firefox and I'm tired of it. I do miss the font rendering in Firefox compared to Chrome, but I'll have to live with it.

oadbyPC's picture

Given Edge is basically Chrome and is already built into Win10, wouldn't it have made more sense for you to switch to Edge rather than install a ?4th browser on your PC? (Edge, ie11, FF and now Chrome= 4).

davolente_10330's picture

This sounds absolutely hideous. None of my Win 10 machines have had any updates for ages, by way of the Group Policy Editor and, judging by this outrageous exhibition from MS, they will remain that way. Sounds like they have the cheek of the devil.

Gurugabe's picture

That is an outrage that Microsoft would even do this. Yes, I do understand that corporations will see how far they can go before they get sued to try to take as much business away from other corporations as possible. But this is a browser, Microsoft isn't selling it so they are not losing much money if you are not using it other than a limited ad revenue stream.

That said, I do believe that the update that is triggering it, I do not remember where I saw this but it was several places, is for non-enterprise systems as in it would not be released for the WSUS application.

Dennis, even though Chrome is my default browser at work, I highly recommend Brave browser followed by Opera.

Davolente, even the most pessimistic Windows security experts will tell you to update your operating system regularly, especially since some of the updates fix major security flaws. Patch early directly on Patch Tuesday if you are a little daring since Microsoft and now Apple have a habit of releasing bad updates. Otherwise, wait until the third week after Patch Tuesday when the bad bugs have been worked out. As far as version upgrades, same philosophy but wait until the next version is released so start rolling out your 2004 version.

tcole_2974's picture

You know, if this was Linux we were talking about, with free distros and such, I could almost see an ad supported schema. I don't know who would collect the money, and I wouldn't like it, but I would understand it.

Windows, on the other hand is not free. Microsoft wants the search revenue from Bing and pushing Edge is the easiest way for them to tilt the scales in their favor. Once you buy a product you shouldn't have to be forced to put up with their advertising and you shouldn't be pressured to use their browser.

Side rant... Ashampoo. I paid good money their software and it works pretty much as expected, but every time I start the program I get slammed with their advertising. I really don't like that either and I won't buy from them again for that reason.

With Windows most people don't have that choice. Windows is as close to a monopoly as you can get since you are pretty much stuck with it if you want to do business. Ever try to train a secretary to use BASH?

mike's picture

While I currently use both Chrome and Opera as my normal browsers, I do sometimes use other browsers. But almost never Edge. This makes me even more likely to not use Edge, and just one more reason to think about moving to Linux. Is Microsoft really trying to drive people away from Windows?
I have not seen any of these ads yet, but I am hoping that someone will come up ith a way to kill them before long. This is very intrusive!

rohnski's picture

This just confirms it, Edge is malware!
.
It installs without asking!
It cannot be uninstalled!
It ignores MS defaults!
MS is constantly spamming me to use it, even when I'm using it! (rarely!)
Now they want to waste more of my time banishing full screen SPAM?
.
Q.E.D, Edge is Malware!
.
Simple solution, go back to the 1990's and SPLIT UP MS!
.
Apparently they have no institutional memory and all of the millennials making decisions weren't even born when MS was threatened with being split for exactly the same sort of shenanigans!
.
It is this sort of stupidity that makes me and half the world hate MS.
.
Hey, anyone buddies with the close to not-soon-enough-ex President T-rump? Maybe he can sign a quickie presidential decree breaking up MS. He was ready to do it to TicToc, so why not MS. Just another thing he could do to f... with the real incoming president.

doulosg's picture

You would think that Marketing 101 would tell advertisers that taking advantage of a captive audience is the surest way to drive customers away - not only from the product being pushed but from the parent company entirely.

I do not use Microsoft products at all for that very reason.

beach.boui's picture

I have not had any significant issues with Firefox. Otherwise, I would park it. You couldn't pay me enough to make Chrome my default browser. Google is a bigger monster than Microsoft. Opera sucks where it comes to online privacy. Edge and be made fairly privacy safe... but, it's still Microsoft. Well, it's a combination of Google/Microsoft. What could be worse?!!! No thank you. I will continue to support Firefox as they continue to improve and to battle against the megamonster behemoths. With a couple of ad-ons, like NoScript, Remove FBclid and UTM, and Firefox Multi-Account Containers, the Firefox browser can be very nicely hardened for security.

RedDawg's picture

Hi-jacking my bandwidth to show ads? I hope they get fined again only much higher this time!