Windows 11 (and 10) users are experiencing a barrage of ads for Edge lately, as Microsoft seems rather recklessly determined to try and trick people into using the browser over Chrome (or other rivals).
Latest version of Windows (opens in a new tab) spotted a few new ad-related initiatives, the first of which is an extension of something we recently talked about.
This would be the pop-up that Microsoft pushes on those using Edge when they go to the Google Chrome download page, in a very unsubtle attempt to persuade against this act of browser defection.
Previously, the pop-up involved telling users that Edge uses the same technology as Chrome (both are Chromium-based), but with the “additional trust of Microsoft” (and it was followed by a large banner ad, but only in tests).
Now, however, that initial popup has added a bit at the bottom noting that clicking the “Browse Safely Now” button will make Edge your default browser, and that this offer is “valid for 1 person/account within first 14 days of joining.
Offer? And now? We’ll come back to discuss this strange situation in a moment.
Windows Latest also points out that another new line of attack to drive Edge adoption is for those who have enabled the Edge bar (an experimental feature that consists of a small floating bar). These users will see ads appearing on their desktop offering gift cards to search the web using the said Edge bar.
This offer promises that if you use the Edge bar for all your web research needs for three days, you’ll get a “free gift card” and a bunch of Microsoft points.
Normally, accumulating enough ‘Microsoft Rewards’ points allows the purchase of a gift card, so it would seem that you get a dollop of points for using the Edge bar during that time (enough to enjoy said card- gift, which can be used to buy all sorts of things, like applications from the Microsoft Store for example).
Analysis: too much effort
This is all getting a little strange, although Microsoft encouraging the use of its products and services via reward points to be spent on goodies in the company’s ecosystem is nothing new. Desktop-intruding pop-ups are a more direct method of persuasion than normal, though only for people who have that Edge Bar enabled.
What’s weirder here, though, is the addition to the reminder prompt that appears when you go to the Chrome download page in Edge, which talks about changing Microsoft’s browser to be your default browser as a kind of limited offer.
It’s just plain confusing, which no doubt makes people who see it think they’ll get some sort of reward for the change. In case there’s any doubt that by following the prompt and clicking the button to make Edge the default browser, you might get something – like maybe reward points – well, you don’t.
There is no offer tied to this promotion, as found out by Windows Latest when the site tested by clicking the prompt. So we can only assume that this is a Microsoft error and something that accidentally slipped into the popup.
This all comes on the heels of various other questionable promotional activities by Edge, including a rather disturbing change in tactics on the platforms. Yes, recently we’ve seen those using Outlook on iOS get pop-ups telling them to use Edge as their default option rather than Safari (or other competing browsers).
The momentum of all this harassment seems to be picking up considerably right now, which is dangerous. Even though many of these metrics are only being tested — or rolled out through experimental features like the Edge bar — there are still strong, ongoing signals that Microsoft is committed to driving Edge adoption. . Rather than leaving the browser to fend for itself and users coming naturally, which would be, shall we say, a more confident stance; and one less likely to backfire.
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