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Microsoft pitches Edge on Bing to deflect deserters

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 8, 2015
Copies long-used tactics by rival search providers with an interest in promoting specific browsers.

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Microsoft has begun promoting its new Edge browser using its Bing search engine, copying a practice already used by rivals.

Just as Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox have been pushed by the Google and Yahoo search engines, Edge now is both being touted as the better browser when users of Windows 10 search for those two competitors on Bing from Edge, and pitched as a replacement for them when the same users search for "chrome" or "firefox" on Bing as they run either of those browsers.

The first part of the promotion appears when Windows 10 users running Edge use Bing to search for "chrome." At the top of the results, Bing places a small black banner that reads, "Microsoft recommends Microsoft Edge for Windows 10," along with a "Learn why" button that directs the user to a marketing page. The same happens when an Edge user searches for "firefox" on Bing. (A search on Bing from Edge for "opera" does not trigger a similar banner.)

Microsoft also uses the banner when Windows 10 users run Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) -- which is bundled with the new OS alongside Edge -- to search Bing for "chrome" or "firefox."

With the banner, Microsoft appears to making a last-ditch effort to stop Windows 10 users from switching to Chrome or Firefox. While the immediate impact of the plea may be questionable -- presumably those searching for for an alternative had already made the decision to download and install another browser -- Microsoft may simply be planting doubt in the minds of potential switchers, and thus hope to regain Edge users if they're dissatisfied with their new choice.

A second promotion appears when Windows 10 users running either Chrome or Firefox search for one of those two browsers on Bing. In those instances, a message reading, "Try the browser for Bing & Windows 10. Microsoft Edge is here. Go now," displays above the summary snapshot at the right of the Bing results.

Again, the impact of this try-Edge message is questionable, since both Chrome and Firefox default to non-Bing search providers -- Google in the case of Chrome, Yahoo for Firefox in the U.S. -- and so are unlikely to be searching on Bing in the first place.

Interestingly, Microsoft does not further promote Edge with a banner or message when Chrome or Firefox users search Bing using the string "Edge browser."

None of these promotional efforts is out of the ordinary for a search provider with an interest in pushing a particular browser.


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