Described by The Verge's Tom Warren as "malware-like popups," Windows 11 now instructs users to switch to Bing. The browser wars–and the monopoly-exploiting shenanigans that got Microsoft in legal trouble the first time around–are back.
I have no idea why Microsoft thinks it's ok to fire off these pop-ups to Windows 11 users in the first place. I wasn't alone in thinking it was malware, with posts dating back three months showing Reddit users trying to figure out why they were seeing the pop-up. I'm sure Microsoft is legally covered by the myriad of license agreements that nobody reads, but in reality I never knowingly consented to Microsoft abusing its ability to analyze my PC usage to show me a Bing pop-up just because I use Chrome with Google search. … ou've probably never seen this latest pop-up or even some of the ones in the past, and that's because Microsoft only experiments with a small number of Windows users before there's an outcry and the company pivots to try and find another way to nag Windows users. Microsoft even had to backtrack on plans to force the Chrome default search to Bing for businesses installing its Office apps.
It's a specific example of a general problem with Windows, which is that tracking, advertising and dark/deceptive patterns are crawling all over it. A fresh install has more ads than a surprisingly cheap smart TV. For a while I switched to Windows because I felt MacOS was declining in various ways, but after a while trying to make it work I went back to Apple's lovingly smooth-sanded embrace and fussing around with Linux distributions. I wouldn't want to use Windows for any purpose other than playing games, and would be wary of anyone using it by choice for certain lines of work (security, privacy, activism) unless the context calling for it was obvious.