It seems Microsoft is up to its old tricks in trying to push people into using its products, once again, and this time the play is to persuade Edge users to switch their search engine to Bing.
As Windows Central spotted, developer Brad Sams (of Stardock fame) brought our attention to Microsoft’s latest bout of “anti-user behavior” in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
The only thing that keeps me on Edge is that I can alt+tab between open tabs…is there a Chrome plugin that enables that? This is anti-user behavior by @MicrosoftEdge pic.twitter.com/JCvRm7PiGVDecember 18, 2023
Sams uses the Edge browser, but was prompted to switch to Bing as the default search engine rather than Google, as you can see in the above screenshot.
This is not the first time Microsoft has been promoting Bing in such a manner, alongside driving other services including Edge itself and OneDrive. (Search for a new browser in Edge, for example, and you’ll get a banner telling you there’s no need to download a different web browser, and the various reasons why).
The Bing search engine continues to struggle for market share against the might of Google, with Microsoft’s creation securing only 3.2% of the market as of November 2023, according to Statcounter.
Analysis: Bing headway – or lack of it
Microsoft hoped that Bing Chat, its AI now-renamed Copilot, would help to swell the ranks of Bing search users when it was launched early this year – but as we can see, that hasn’t happened. The Bing search engine had a 3% share at the beginning of 2023 going by Statcounter’s figures, so has notched that up 0.2% over the course of the year – a pretty miniscule uptick.
It’s safe to say, then, that the AI angle has not panned out for Bing search, although Microsoft has now started thinking about what its various products can do for Copilot, rather than what the chatbot can do for those products. (Witness the debut of Copilot in Windows 10, driving user numbers of the AI forward, rather than keeping Copilot as a carrot to drive migration to Windows 11).
At any rate, whatever piece of Microsoft’s vast jigsaw of products and services we’re talking about, we don’t want to see prompts in Edge, or Windows 11, or anywhere else, trying to twist the arms of users to switch to another Microsoft creation.
And fair enough, Google does this kind of thing too, pushing Chrome and its own search – but not as often as Microsoft in our experience. Can we please lay off the various prompts for 2024, Microsoft? Because if anything, throughout 2023 they seem to have become more prevalent again.