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What do you get when you search for ‘Firefox’ in a new Windows 10 installation?

A big fat ad for Microsoft Edge:

Firefox in Bing

Note that this is a full-screen screenshot on a 1920x1080 screen (right-click and select ‘view image’ for the full size). Firefox is juts barely visible at the bottom.

But it doesn’t end there, Microsoft also “helpfully” displays a warning that this file “could harm your computer”:

Downloading Firefox

According to Microsoft, “The SmartScreen Application Reputation service checks the reputation of a file”, and should display this only for files with no significant reputation. Somehow I find it hard to believe that the Firefox installer fits this bill…

But wait, there’s more! When changing the default browser from Edge to Firefox we get yet another ad, baked right in to the settings screen:

Changing default browser

It doesn’t end with Microsoft. For years Google displayed a Chrome advertisements on Google search (although it seems they have stopped doing it now). And what about enabling the ‘Do Not Track’ header in Chrome?

Enabling Do Not Track

I’m sure that the fact that Google has a significant vested interest in tracking the hell out of everyone on the internet is purely coincidental.


These concerns are hardly new of course. The Microsoft browser bundling was a subject of much complaining and litigation in the past leading to the (in)famous BrowserChoice.eu. Whether that was a good decision or not is up for grabs, but baking full-page ads and warnings in your products strikes me as ethically dubious at best.

I haven’t used Windows – or any Microsoft product – in years, but it looks like it’s still the same old crap. Just booting Windows also completely blew away my grub bootloader by the way. My ten-minute stint with Microsoft Windows is over.

All of this makes paying the Microsoft tax on my ThinkPad even more sour…

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You can mail me at martin@arp242.net or create a GitHub issue for feedback, questions, etc.

Copyright © 2010-2017 Martin Tournoij <martin@arp242.net>
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