Microsoft is hellbent on getting you to use Edge if latest tactic is anything to go by

Microsoft Edge
(Image credit: Wachiwit / Shutterstock)

Microsoft is up to its old tricks of promoting Edge in an overly pushy manner, according to a new report.

Neowin (opens in new tab) relays a tale of being nagged to use the Microsoft browser with a small pop-up followed by a rather jarring full-size banner when attempting to download rival browser Chrome.

We should note from the off that this happened in Edge testing versions, and Neowin updated its article to say that only the Beta version (not Canary or Dev) is now doing this when trying to install Chrome.

What happens exactly when you try to grab Google’s browser in this case? First off, when you visit the Chrome site, a mini pop-up is displayed as mentioned, and we just tried in the release version of Edge to confirm that this happens there, too.

That’s a relatively unobtrusive nag compared to the second full-size banner at the top of the browser window, the latter being the one that only appears in testing (just Beta now, as noted). This makes its presence felt when the Chrome download starts.

Both panels tell you that Edge uses the same technology as Chrome (namely Chromium), but with the “added trust of Microsoft”, with a button urging you to ‘Browse securely now’ and use Edge rather than downloading and switching over to Chrome.


Analysis: There’s no place like Edge…

As Neowin points out, this may have been testing conducted on a limited set of Edge users, and it looks like that trialing has been cut back now (albeit still present in beta – for the time being).

Nonetheless, it’s a worrying move by Microsoft to double up on the nagging with a larger second banner; as if being given the message once wasn’t quite enough, thanks.

While Google also prompts people to use its Chrome browser on occasion, it does so from its own territory (the search engine site itself) and certainly doesn’t try to muscle in when detecting that you’re visiting a rival browser’s web page to potentially download that client and defect, as it were.

Microsoft seems to be on another big push to fire up Edge adoption, as recently we’ve also witnessed shenanigans on the mobile front. Those using the Outlook app on iOS have seen pop-ups trying to get them to open up links and attachments in Edge rather than Safari (or whatever other browser the iOS user may have chosen).

By now, we’re doubtless all getting weary at these kinds of attempts – which have been seen before, we might add – to drive up Edge market share, and we really wish Microsoft would lay off the nag stick, and try a more carrot-oriented approach.

For instance, Edge is getting its own free (albeit limited) VPN service which is rolling out in release as we type, and this is where Microsoft should be hoping to gain share – by continually making the browser better, whether that’s through new features, or better performance (or indeed both). Do enough of that, and eventually, the users will come as word of mouth spreads.

Do too much of what looks like underhand badgering – even if it’s in testing – and that won’t drive adoption, it’ll only drive folks away.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).