One of the most effective ways to make someone not want to do something is to force them to do it. That’s exactly what Microsoft has done with its new Chromium-based web browser.
Over the last few months, Microsoft began rolling out an update through the Windows Update Center that delivered its new Edge browser to users. On the surface, this update makes sense. Chromium Edge will replace the old Edge browser, so an update that swaps one out for the other should be expected. However, Microsoft took it a few steps too far.
A Windows 10 update forces a full screen @MicrosoftEdge window, which cannot be closed from the taskbar, or CTRL W, or even ALT F4. You must press "get started," then the X, and even then it pops up a welcome screen. And pins itself to the taskbar. pic.twitter.com/mEhEbqpIc7
— Taran Quarantino (@TaranVH) July 2, 2020
Several people have taken to Twitter to complain about a forced update that not only installed the new Edge, but also placed icons on the desktop and taskbar, inserted itself into users’ next website launch (ignoring their browser preference) and tried to convince them to switch to Edge.
My PC just force shutdown to install Microsoft edge. Losing at least an hour of drawing. Thank you @Microsoft
No one is gonna use you're shitty excuse for a browser, no matter how much you force it.
— richie 🍏 (@paperichie) June 30, 2020
Some users noted that after applying the update, a full-screen Microsoft Edge window took over their computer and they couldn’t quit out of it without partially progressing through the welcome screens. Others said their PC forced a shutdown to install the app, costing them hours of work.
— Paul Laris (@Paul_Laris) June 30, 2020
It’s an understandably frustrating experience for users and, unsurprisingly, has encouraged many to outright dismiss the new Edge. It’s a shame, really, as the browser is actually really good. I’ve used it on and off over the last year in part because I was genuinely curious and in part because I’m MobileSyrup’s resident browser expert. MobileSyrup managing editor Patrick O’Rourke also started using Edge as a replacement for Chrome on his MacBook and found the experience much smoother and faster.
Ultimately, the way this update has played out is incredibly disappointing. Instead of just swapping out old Edge for new and letting users check it out on their terms, Microsoft has forced the browser on users in a rather underhanded and frustrating way. It’s a move that The Verge likens to Microsoft’s anti-competitive behaviour with Internet Explorer back in the 90s. And it’s turning people off the browser before they’ve even tried it.
Hopefully, Microsoft takes note of the outcry and puts a stop to the aggressive take over before it undermines what little goodwill the new Edge has left.