18 Sep

Microsoft has made the news again by appearing to flex its market muscle by testing pop-up warnings in Windows 10 that are triggered when users start to install rival Chrome or Firefox web browsers.

What Happens?

It’s been reported that when a user tries to install another, non-Microsoft browser on a computer running Windows 10, pop-up warnings are issued that remind the user that they already have Microsoft’s Edge browser installed, and that Edge is a “faster, safer” browser for the Windows 10 operating system..

Just A Test

Microsoft has been quick to point out that the pop-up warnings are just a test among a small number of specific users. According to Microsoft, the warnings were only tested with a group of users who are part of its “Insiders” initiative, and that the warnings didn’t stop any software being installed.

The tests are part of the lead-up to Microsoft’s Windows 10 October Update.

Browser Trouble In The Past

Microsoft is no stranger to landing itself in hot water of over competition issues with its browser.

For example, way back in 1998, when competing browsers included Netscape Navigator, Microsoft was questioned by US regulators (with Bill gates being forced to testify) over its bundling of Internet Explorer in Windows in a staggering 95% of Intel-compatible PCs.

Also, after receiving a record-breaking fine of nearly 900 million Euros by the EC for charging “unreasonable” royalty fees for matters relating to disclosing documentation allowing non-Microsoft servers to work Windows computers and services, Microsoft was again punished in 2013. This time the European Commission slapped a 561 million euro fine on Microsoft for failing to comply with the Commission’s ruling that it had to allow users to more easily choose a preferred web browser.

Not The Most Popular

These days Microsoft’s Edge is a long way behind Chrome, Firefox and Safari in terms of browser market share, so it’s perhaps understandable that Microsoft is looking for different ways to compete and boost its share.

Google’s Chrome browser now has a massive 65.2% share of the browser market, and while this share rose 5.9 percentage points over the last year, Microsoft’s IE and Edge have seen falls in use in recent months.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Browser wars have been raging for years, and for business users, it’s simply a case of finding one that’s stable, secure, and offers plenty of useful features e.g. Chrome 69 looks set to offer extra-protection in generating strong passwords.

Microsoft is finding itself in a very awkward spot as regards the popularity of its browsers as requiring users to upgrade to the latest version of IE has effectively killed the still-popular IE8, IE9 and IE 10, and has sent the browser into 74% decline. With the need to move customers to Windows 10, IE has become a legacy product that now receives security updates only. Edge, the big hope as users migrate to Windows 10 has, so far, not been able to claw share back, probably because IE and Edge now only account for around 17% of the browsers that run on Windows (Net Applications figures). It remains to be seen how Microsoft is able to boost the popularity of Edge in the short term against such strong competition as Chrome.