Is Microsoft Adding Too Many Controversial Features To Its Edge Browser?
Many Internet users have welcomed Microsoft’s decision to withdraw the aging browser Internet Explorer and the classic version of Microsoft Edge in favor of a new browser based on Chromium.
Some have criticized Microsoft for beefing up Chromium, fearing the move would give Google even more power over the future of the internet. Others liked the Lite version of Edge which offered better web compatibility and better performance than the older version.
Businesses and organizations that have relied on Internet Explorer technology can use Edge’s Internet Explorer mode to continue using these applications and services.
The first versions of Microsoft Edge were released in 2019, and Microsoft surprised more than one by releasing Edge for other platforms. The classic version of Edge was an exclusive feature of Windows 10 and one of the main reasons the browser never managed to gain a significant market share. The new Edge is available for all supported Windows platforms, Linux, Mac, and Android.
Microsoft’s shift in strategy from a Windows 10 exclusive browser to a browser available on all platforms appeared to be paying off. Finally, users could sync data between all versions of Edge and use it on other platforms.
Recently, there has been increasing criticism of Microsoft Edge and Microsoft’s overall browser strategy. Many users of Windows 11, Microsoft’s latest operating system, are frustrated with the company’s efforts to keep the Edge browser as the system’s default browser. Some links, for example web search results and widget links, use a special linking scheme that forces those links to open exclusively in Edge. There is no technical reason for this, only to force the use of Edge on the system.
Programs that allowed users to bypass the restriction have been rendered inoperable primarily by recent changes to the operating system. Microsoft has made it harder to change the default browser over previous versions of Windows, and the company has been criticized for doing so by competitors such as Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner.
Microsoft has also been criticized for a number of features it recently added to Edge. Some of these are only available in certain regions, others were introduced in the development editions of Edge.
In the past two months alone, Microsoft has added a controversial buy now – pay later feature to Edge that critics say could entice people to make purchases they might not need or that they could otherwise afford.
Another new feature that was added recently is a new Games button, which Ashwin reviewed here. Users can click on it for a list of games and related information, powered by Microsoft’s MSN service.
Most of these features can be turned off, but they are usually turned on by default.
Is Microsoft adding too much weight to Microsoft Edge, and if so, why? Some commentators believe Microsoft could use a trial-and-error approach to feature development, to keep the ones that provide positive feedback and abandon the others. Since Edge is based on Chromium, adding features that Chrome, Edge’s main competitor does not have, may also play a role here.
Others believe that Edge has too many cooks making decisions, and that this leads to a perceived feature bloat due to a missing overall strategy when it comes to the browser.