Microsoft’s Edge bullying is now infecting iPhones as well as Windows 11

Unimpressed woman using a smartphone
(Image credit: Tirachard Kumtanom / Shutterstock)

Windows 11 users have been putting up with Microsoft desperately trying to get them to use the built-in Edge web browser for years now (stretching back into Windows 10), and it looks like it’s now the turn of iPhone users to get bugged.

As Windows Latest reports (opens in new tab), iPhone users who have Microsoft’s Outlook email app installed will begin to see pop-ups trying to convince them to open links and attachments using Microsoft Edge, rather than Safari or any other default browser, such as Chrome.

If you don’t have Edge installed, which is probably the case for most iPhone users, then you’ll be shown a page to download and install Microsoft’s browser.

You can choose to open links and documents using your default choice, though having to select your default choice kind of negates the point of making something default. You can also set it to ‘remember’ your choice so you don’t have to do it again. However, you do need to do it for every file type.

Risky methods

While any iPhone owner who uses Outlook rather than the default email app may already be predisposed to using Microsoft apps over Apple’s own, there will be plenty of people who get turned off by Microsoft’s pestering.

Windows users may be used to Microsoft’s heavy-handed attempts to get people to use its less popular services and products, such as Edge and Bing, but I can’t imagine many iPhone users being impressed.

It could end up having the opposite effect to the one intended, with users deliberately avoiding using Edge – and perhaps even uninstalling Outlook in response.

One of the fundamental problems with Microsoft’s attempts is that, rather than building a product that captures people’s imaginations and makes them want to use it, it instead uses its other more popular products as trojan horses to try to boost its less popular products.

That may sound harsh, but to be honest, I’m a bit sick of being badgered by Microsoft to use Edge, despite clearly setting my preferred web browser as the default in Windows 11.

In the screenshot Windows Latest showed of the pop-up in Outlook, there’s no explanation from Microsoft about why a user should use Edge over their default choice.

Screenshot of the Outlook iOS app asking a user to use Edge

(Image credit: Windows Latest / Microsoft)

By spending more time selling Edge’s benefits to users (it is, after all, one of the best web browsers), rather than trying to sneak it onto systems in other ways, Microsoft would have a much better chance of winning people over. 

The hype surrounding Bing’s new AI-powered search saw organic interest and use in Bing grow – with even the Bing app on iOS making a rare appearance at the top of the App Store downloads chart. This shows that when Microsoft demonstrates how its products are different, and even better, than its competitors, people will gladly try them out.

Forcing them on people, however, will not have the same effect, and I hope Microsoft learns this lesson soon.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.