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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.

Google intermittently pitches Chrome when users call up from a rival browser, and it has run other promotions there as well, including one last year beseeching Firefox users to switch back to Google as their preferred provider after Mozilla adopted Yahoo as its browser's default.

Yahoo has done the same since it struck the deal with Mozilla late in 2014. When an Edge user in Windows 10 goes to, for example, the message "Upgrade to the new Firefox" displays at the far right of the search site's toolbar.

Because Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser has long dominated the browser space -- Net Applications pegged IE's user share at 52% for August -- the Redmond, Wash. company has had little motivation to pitch IE via Bing. But being new and a departure from IE, Edge is different: In effect, Microsoft is starting Edge's share from scratch.

Microsoft obviously feels it must promote the browser as it positions Edge as the future and relegates IE to legacy support work. And there are signs that it is smart to do so.

Although Microsoft has some substantial weapons in its Edge push -- notably that Windows 10's post-installation setup sets Edge as the default, even if the user had previously selected an alternate in Windows 7 or 8.1 prior to upgrading to 10 -- third-party measurements have hinted that Edge is being used by a minority of people running Windows 10.

According to Net Applications, Edge was used by 39% of all Windows 10 users last month. Another analytics firm, Ireland's StatCounter, pegged usage share, a measurement of online activity rather than an estimate of the number of users running a specific browser, even lower for Edge: Just 14.5% of all Windows 10 online usage during the last seven days of August.

If those numbers are accurate, it's no surprise that Microsoft is now promoting Edge.

Microsoft has banked on revenue from Bing -- the default in Edge -- to replace some of the money lost as Windows license sales fall. In late July, David Pann, the general manager of the Bing Ads group, told online advertisers that Microsoft expected a 10% to 15% jump in Bing's search queries by September because of Windows 10.

After reported on Pane's comments, Microsoft pulled the blog post where Pann outlined the anticipated bump in Bing usage.

Bing recommends Edge
When Windows 10 users running Edge search for 'chrome' on Bing, they see a last-ditch banner that hopes to make them hesitate and abandon their download plans.


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