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Microsoft has resumed spamming Chrome users with Bing ads

Published Mar 15th, 2024 9:20PM EDT
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Image: Microsoft

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Microsoft simply refuses to get out of its own way. When Windows 11 users made a fuss over a series of bizarre, malware-like pop-ups last year begging Chrome users to switch to Bing as the default search engine, Microsoft promptly paused them and claimed that they were the result of “unintended behavior.” Less than a year later, similar pop-ups are once again plaguing Chrome users, and this time, Microsoft is much less apologetic about their emergence.

As spotted by The Verge, a Reddit user shared a screenshot this week of the following ad that appeared on their desktop. Understandably, the user was concerned that it might be malware, as the image was slightly pixelated and came out of nowhere:

Microsoft's Bing ad spam for Chrome users.
Microsoft’s Bing ad spam for Chrome users. Image source: Reddit

As suspicious as the ad might look, it is legitimate (and incredibly intrusive). The Verge reached out to Microsoft to confirm and received the following statement.

“This is a one-time notification giving people the choice to set Bing as their default search engine on Chrome,” says Caitlin Roulston, Microsoft’s director of communications. “We value providing our customers with choice, so there is an option to dismiss the notification.”

Of course, Microsoft does not give its valuable customers the choice to just turn off these weird, annoying ads altogether. That would be the first setting I tweaked on any Windows machine that I bought, but the company would rather pester me forever.

At this point, I have begun to associate Edge and Bing with spam and viruses. I can’t imagine that was the intended effect of these ads, but despite the fact that I think both products are decent enough, I am now motivated to stay as far away from them as possible. For the love of god, Microsoft, if this is the only way to get me to download your software, there might be a more serious root cause than the lack of persistent, confusing advertising.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.