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Latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build tries to dissuade users from installing Chrome or Firefox

This prompt pops up when you try to install Chrome or Firefox in the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build. (Source: Neowin)
This prompt pops up when you try to install Chrome or Firefox in the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build. (Source: Neowin)
Microsoft is doing an A/B testing of a new functionality in the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview that reminds users of Microsoft Edge whenever they try to install another browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Microsoft, however, said that this is limited only to the Insider Preview Builds for feedback and will not appear in the final shipping release.

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Microsoft has managed to stir the hornet's nest once again. In the latest Windows 10 Insider Builds, users have reported seeing a prompt that pops up when they try to install a third-party browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox reminding them Edge is already installed. Luckily though, it's just a prompt and not a block so it can very well be sidelined. 

Microsoft says the new prompt is part of an experiment and is A/B testing it to gauge community feedback. The idea seems to be to interrupt the install process for third-party browsers in an effort to drive adoption of Edge as the default browser. According to NetMarketShare, Edge holds just 4.29% of the market as opposed to 62% for Chrome, 11.87% for Internet Explorer, and 10.79% for Firefox. Seeing the numbers, it is understandable why Microsoft would want to encourage users to adopt Edge but Insiders and Windows users in general are apparently miffed. 

The wording in the prompt looks like it has been neatly crafted to avoid any sort of antitrust issues. It doesn't mention or deride any browser by name. Clicking 'Install anyway' installs the 'other browsers' without issues. Since this is an A/B test, not all installations of Build 17755 show this prompt. This was also confirmed by a Microsoft spokesperson to ZDNet.

We've tested this functionality with Insiders only - The Windows Insider Program enables Microsoft to test different features, functionality and garner feedback before rolling out broadly. Customers remain in control and can choose the browser of their choice."

Attempts to make users stick to a particular browser are not new. Microsoft did the same during the Windows 9x era with Internet Explorer earning quite a bum rap that haunts them even today. Google, too, throws up prompts to use Chrome whenever Google sites are visited using Edge or Firefox. The 'Try Microsoft Edge' prompt shows up when visiting Microsoft sites from Chrome as well. Apparently, Firefox still remains the less interfering browser of the big three.

Prompts within a browser and those within an OS are two different things, though and users will have starkly polarizing opinions about Microsoft's move — which is probably what the company wants to know in the first place. 

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 09 > Latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build tries to dissuade users from installing Chrome or Firefox
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-09-13 (Update: 2018-09-13)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.