back to article After injecting pop-up ads for Bing into Windows, Microsoft now bends to Europe on links

Microsoft has released a Windows 11 preview build that will open links generated by Windows system components in the user's default browser – but only for those in the European Union and a few other countries. "In the European Economic Area (EEA), Windows system components use the default browser to open links," the IT giant …

  1. Paul Herber Silver badge

    Desperate.

    1. Notas Badoff

      "can we" vs. "should we"

      As perhaps a better comment on Microsoft's executive capabilities: "ill-advised"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "can we" vs. "should we"

        I think "utterly idiotic" would be more fitting. Not only are they seriously annoying users which will prompt a counter and possibly even extra regulation, they're also making people search for alternatives.

        If I were Apple, I'd market MacOS as "without ads - because there are plenty already", and ditto for Linux.

        And, let's not forget, this is another backdoor into the OS that only Microsoft marketing still proclaims as "safe" - those who have been on the receiving end of ransomware know otherwise (although, of course, it's always the user's fault).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "can we" vs. "should we"

          I would money on it that EdgeDeflector will soon suffer the same fate as the tools that disable Microsoft telemetry (even you switch them off they apparently still leak): Microsoft's Defender-that-isn't will list it as malware and boot it off the system.

          IMHO that alone is an argument against relying on Microsoft Defender, it's a bit like Musk's approach to "free" speech (i.e. only anything he likes).

          We've basically moved from software you have to trust to run your business with malware attacking it to now Microsoft even taking over the attacking role.

      2. 43300 Silver badge

        Re: "can we" vs. "should we"

        "can we" vs. "should we"

        That should probably be "can we get away with it, for a while at least"

  2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Flame

    GRRR

    For a while, I thought that Windows 11 wasn't so bad, but Microsoft keeps taking actions that demonstrate that they really are back to their 1990s form, ruthlessly trying to exploit their operating system monopoly to force users onto Microsoft tools. Also, Windows 11 is glitchy in ways that 10 simply was not, probably as a direct result of trying to coerce users into The Microsoft Way. Perhaps this finally is The Year of the Linux Desktop!

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: GRRR

      Spare a thought for me. The company is a Windows shop. Yeah, we do have a bunch of Linux servers (Deadhat... oh, and SuSE, the admining of which I hate with a vengance, it sucks, a lot - but that's the Debian admin speaking). I daily set my standard broser to something sensible (firefox is available and even preinstalled) - but have to use Edge for the stoooopid sharepoint ($deity, I hate sharepoint, we don't even have all of the nice integrations installed / activated). Of course, Edge sets itself as the standard browser, because f'ing Microsoft of course knows better. (this is on Win 10 - let's see if Win 11 happens, with all of the telemetry it is currently unlikely).

      Great, now I not only need a coffee, but also something to put into it, no, not milk, rather soemthing grain-based, fermented and distilled... I think I'll write some snarky emails first, the recipients do deserve it.

  3. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Angel

    If I remember correctly, some text in the DMA would force Apple to make iMessage compatible with RCS, that'll be the day

  4. EvaQ
    Pint

    How about the UK?

    "Microsoft did not reply to a request for comment about why its new EEA policy does not extend to the US."

    And how about the UK?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To M$, the UK is a walled garden

      Rather like East Berlin in the time of the DDR.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: How about the UK?

      Of course they didn't comment. To comment would basically be to admit that it's a monopolistic power grab and get the US authorities interested in them again. And that's the last thing they want.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about the UK?

      are you an EU commie?, all patriots love the new brexit freedoms to have shit shovelled in our faces

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Re: How about the UK?

      Actually have we been included in the use your own browser or is this another right we have lost?

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: How about the UK?

        Worst case change region to Ireland I suppose

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How about the UK?

        We (well a majority of people who voted in the referendum, probably not a majority of readers here) voted that we don't want the EU "meddling" in our ability to receive the latest innovations from the government's friends at MS. The UK Digital Markets and Competition Bill does not afford the same protections as the EU DMA, its more concerned with making the UK "competitive" by allowing large corporations/tory donors to do what they want.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "reduce task switching across windows and tabs to help stay focused"

    Bollocks.

    Face it, Borkzilla : you're not the #1 choice. Oh sure, you have desktop monopoly, one that you ruthlessly enforced when other choices were starting to emerge, but you simply will not be #1 where it counts now or tomorrow, the Internet.

    The default browser is the user's choice, whether you like it or not. And if anyone needed proof you do not cater to those using your products, forcing Edge means task switching, because users are in their default browser and you are throwing up Edge.

    That does not help to stay in focus. Words against acts, once again, and your acts betray you. Not to mention that this forcing Edge anyway you can is very much like the whiny ex that can't stop phoning you. Pathetic.

    In any case, I note with interest all those Edge Deflector tools. I will be exploring their utility on my work laptop. Thanks for that tip !

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "reduce task switching across windows and tabs to help stay focused"

      "That does not help to stay in focus. Words against acts, once again, and your acts betray you. Not to mention that this forcing Edge anyway you can is very much like the whiny ex that can't stop phoning you. Pathetic."

      "Focus" is the new marketing buzzword. I remember when I was forced to switch to Outlook for work, a year or so ago. After a month or so I realised I was missing a lot of email because MS Outlook defaults to something it calls "Focused Inbox", which meant it was only showing me some emails in the inbox, not all of them. Typical of MS. I never have found out how it "decides" what I need to be "focussed" on and what I am supposed to either ignore or go hunting for, disrupting my "focus" on what my job actually entails. Luckily, at least for now, we can still switch off the "focussed inbox" and make it behave in a rational way.

      1. Smirnov

        Re: "reduce task switching across windows and tabs to help stay focused"

        >> "Focus" is the new marketing buzzword.

        Not quite, "Focus" is another word for "being productive", used by Microsoft to make it less obvious that MS365 also generates productivity reports of employees using the software so employers can monitor what employees are doing.

        The other "focus" stuff in MS365 is just window dressing to create the (false) impression that it's supposed to help the user.

    2. sebacoustic

      Re: "reduce task switching across windows and tabs to help stay focused"

      "focused" as in "focused on making money for Micro$oft"

  6. razorfishsl

    They have also started doing it on their website for support.

    It is impossible to open many pages , unless you use edge.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I report those as broken links when the "survey" box opens. Every time.

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "Dont Switch" [sic]

    Is this malware? Certainly looks like it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Dont Switch" [sic]

      Windows became malware shortly after Worries for Workgroups. It's just getting a bit more blatant about it.

      As I said before, I see a lot of effort by Microsoft trying to prove it has users locked in so tightly that they can basically be subjected to any abuse they can come up with. I just wonder why - is someone trying to offload shares?

      1. navarac Silver badge

        Re: "Dont Switch" [sic]

        It's Microsoft's Apple envy in full swing.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not just win 11

    That bing advertisement was not limited to windows 11. the fucker popped up in windows10 too, and less than 2 weeks ago.

    so are we sure they have stopped doing that shit?

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: not just win 11

      If you have to use Windows (as I do) there are definite advantages to using a server version for your desktop OS! Obviously they are still Windows, but MS seems to be a bit more circumspect about foisting shit onto them all the time.

  9. sstroud

    EU should force Microsoft to make it possible to uninstall Edge

    Job done.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: EU should force Microsoft to make it possible to uninstall Edge

      Trouble is, it seems the EU need to upgrade the regulator and an appoint a permanent Microsoft regulator with the power to take swift action. Perhaps then we might get a more stable and useable desktop - like we had for many years with XP-SP2/SP3 and Office 2003 (*).

      (*) Not saying these were secure or functionally perfect, just that they were stable for more years than MS has achieved subsequently. Plus it didn’t have all the irritating “news feeds”, pop-ups etc. which seem to be part of the modern UI/UX.

  10. MJI Silver badge

    MS active avoidance

    Apart from their mouse.

    I hate anything post 7.

    All difficult for working out what is what.

    Trying to be a mobile telephone.

  11. jonha
    Stop

    So glad...

    I switched from Win7 to Linux about 5 or 6 years ago. Nothing to do with then unheard-of Edge or other such Windows shenanigans. Yes, it was a very bumpy ride for the first months because I knew Windows quite well (we bought the first Windows SDK when it was still in beta ~1985 IIRC) and knew very little about Linux.

    And to think they do this specifically for (parts of) Europe and just ignore the rest of the world. Amazing.

    I am so glad I left that Himalaya of crap behind.

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: So glad...

      Edge was around five or six years ago - it first appears with the initial release of W10, using MS's own rendering engine, and nobody used it. After flogging that dead horse for a few years, MS jumped on the Chromium bandwagon and Edgeium appeared, and has been aggressively pushed ever since!

      1. jonha

        Re: So glad...

        You're right, amazing how time flies. Wikipedia says " It was first released in 2015 as part of Windows 10" so I stand corrected. (I never installed or bought Windows 10 (or 8 or 8.1) anywhere, let alone Edge.)

  12. navarac Silver badge

    Advertising Vehicle

    Corporate software seems to me to be just one great advertising vehicle. Microsoft, Apple, Google to name just three. I've been on Linux for years now, using FOSS, Firefox or preferably Brave. Reading these articles about the shennigans of Windows/Edge just makes me shake my head. I'm thankful I dumped their shit long ago.

  13. localzuk Silver badge

    Are MS a Monopoly any more?

    So, yes, Microsoft are big, and they still have 69% of the desktop OS market share, but does calling them a monopoly any more work?

    They're not a monopoly in the consumer OS space. They're not a monopoly in the web browser space. Nor the server space.

    If someone were to try and claim they abuse a monopoly position, I suspect they'd have a lot more wiggle room these days.

    But yes, this obsession with upsell/marketing in their OS is just going to annoy people.

  14. Frogger

    ok lolz

    M$ can do whatever they want , as for me:

    * da2x/EdgeDeflector

    * ShadowWhisperer/Remove-MS-Edge

    on win 11 enterprise activated with HWID + custom group policy for the telemetry.

    oh yes, O&O AppBuster for the cr*pware

    dont pay a cent/penny etc to those b****rds

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big corporations...

    ...just can't seem to understand a basic principle: don't aggravate the people giving you money.

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