If I told you that my entire computer screen just got taken over by a new app that I’d never installed or asked for — it just magically appeared on my desktop, my taskbar, and preempted my next website launch — you’d probably tell me to run a virus scanner and stay away from shady websites, no?
But the insanely intrusive app I’m talking about isn’t a piece of ransomware. It’s Microsoft’s new Chromium Edge browser, which the company is now force-feeding users via an automatic update to Windows.
Seriously, when I restarted my Windows 10 desktop this week, an app I’d never asked for:
- Immediately launched itself
- Tried to convince me to migrate away from Chrome, giving me no discernible way to click away or say no
- Pinned itself to my desktop and taskbar
- Ignored my previous browser preference by asking me — the next time I launched a website — whether I was sure I wanted to use Chrome instead of Microsoft’s oh-so-humble recommendation.
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
Did I mention that, as of this update, you can’t uninstall Edge anymore?
It all immediately made me think: what would the antitrust enforcers of the ‘90s, who punished Microsoft for bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, think about this modern abuse of Microsoft’s platform?
*wakes up and discovers they not only decided to install Edge on my computer without my consent but also pinned it to my taskbar* …no. NO
— ᴍeadow w f (@gothfundme) June 29, 2020
“We care about your privacy” Microsoft Edge says as it quietly installs on my computer, opens up in the morning, and once more reminds me that Windows 7 sucks and plz update to the other O/S.
Never change, Microsoft.
— I’m To Blame (@im2blame4) June 30, 2020
But mostly, I’m surprised Microsoft would shoot itself in the foot by stooping so low, using tactics I’ve only ever seen from purveyors of adware, spyware, and ransomware. I installed this copy of Windows with a disk I purchased, by the way. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I like to think I still own my desktop and get to decide what I put there.
That’s especially true of owners of Windows 7 and Windows 8, I imagine, who are also receiving unwanted gift copies of the new Edge right now:
If windows 7 isn’t supported then why did my Work machine automatically install Microsoft EDGE last night 😐
— DJ_Uchuu – Silicon Dreams Comin’ 3rd July (@DjUchuu) June 30, 2020