Edge and Windows 11 – the return of Microsoft’s IE failure?

Today, Microsoft beats it with FAANG stocks for the top position on the technology stock market. But 20 years ago, Microsoft breathed a sigh of relief when it dodged a bullet.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who oversaw the Department of Justice and Microsoft, ruled in 2000 that Microsoft was a monopoly that should be split into two companies. This part of his decision was overturned in 2001, or we’ll live in a very different technological world.

What was the root cause of Jackson’s decision? Microsoft used its Windows monopoly to beat web browser rival Netscape. The final decision brought Microsoft a big slap and required it to give other browsers a chance to run on Windows. So what the hell is going on now with Windows 11 and Edge Microsoft!?

In case you haven’t heard, the new Insider Preview build of Windows 11 finds a workaround that allows users to set other web browsers, such as Firefox and Chrome, as defaults to handle links. web. So, for example, if I send you an e-mail with a link to one of the favorite xkcd cartoon and you opened it in Outlook on this Windows 11 PC, it opens in Edge – even if your preferred browser is Chrome.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has tried to take down users’ Edge, in the same way it did with Internet Explorer in the 1990s. For example, in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17623 In 2018, Microsoft began “testing a change where links clicked in the Windows Mail app will open in Microsoft Edge.”

This is not an isolated case. For example, in Windows 10 if you open an MSN article, the default will show you that page in Edge. Users are always complaining about being forced to use Edge. Last year, not long after Microsoft introduced Edge version based on Chrome, it pushed the refurbished Edge to all systems as they updated to Windows 10, version 2004. People were not happy.

No one cared much for the old Edge to be trashed, but when people turned on their PCs, they found Edge launching on its own; request to replace your current browser; pin itself to the desktop and taskbar; and then when you try to open a web page it asks if you really want to use Firefox instead of Edge. That’s not the way to win friends and influence users.

In the past, you can replace Edge as your default browser. What you can’t do is get rid of Edge. For better or worse – I think worse – you stuck with edge.

According to Daniel Aleksandersen, who created for free EdgeDeflector the application intercepts the popular Windows embed microsoft-edge:// links and redirects them to regular https:// links, his about 500,000 users can no longer avoid Edge with his program that anymore. “You can’t ignore Microsoft Edge anymore use apps like EdgeDeflector. “Microsoft’s new order will also block such functionality in upcoming versions of Brave and Firefox.

Aleksandersen dug deeper and found this: “Windows 10 and 11 no longer care about the default web browser settings. Microsoft even removed the default web browser settings from Windows 11. Instead of one unique setting for default web browser, client must set each “binding” for http:// and https:// protocols; as well as file associations for the .html file type. This is a huge leap in complexity from the previous design. Obviously this is a hostile move towards users. Windows has compromised the usability of its own product to make it more difficult to use competing products. “

As for what users can do about all of this, Aleksandersen is blunt: “The best course of action is to complain to their local antitrust regulator or switch to Linux. Your web browser is probably the most important – if not the only – application you use on a regular basis. Microsoft has made it clear that their preferences for Windows are not user-friendly. “

He’s right. And Microsoft was wrong to make this move.

This is not an error. This is a deliberate move throughout Windows to go back to the past when your only real browser choice was Microsoft’s choice. It backfired on the company then; I hope it will burn by now.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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