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Microsoft’s desperate attempts to make us ditch Google are getting worse

Published Aug 30th, 2023 8:39PM EDT
Microsoft makes Bing Chat GPT-4 free to everyone and announces new features.
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In the eight years since it launched, Microsoft’s Edge browser has improved dramatically. The Chromium-based browser includes AI features powered by Bing, built-in price comparison tools for shopping, tabs that go to sleep when you aren’t using them, and much more. For all of these reasons and more, it is perplexing that Microsoft is still spamming Windows 11 users with pop-ups and ads, trying to persuade them to switch from Chrome to Edge or Google to Bing.

This week, The Verge’s Tom Warren wrote about Microsoft’s latest repellent crusade to convince Windows 11 users to ditch Google.

He was tabbing back and forth between Google’s Chrome browser and a game on his PC when a pop-up suddenly appeared in the corner of the screen. The pop-up wasn’t from the Notification Center or part of the Windows 11 Suggested Actions feature. Rather, the pop-up was a strange executable file called BGAUpsell.exe. Not exactly subtle, Microsoft.

Here’s what the pop-up says: “Switch your default search engine to Microsoft Bing in Chrome.” Microsoft proceeds to list a few reasons to switch, such as the ability to earn Microsoft Rewards points and the new AI-powered search available through Bing.

Warren wasn’t the first disgruntled Windows 11 user to come across these pop-ups. As Warren notes, a Redditor was complaining about the pop-up back in June. I also found another thread from this past weekend in the Windows subreddit about the pop-up.

“We are aware of these reports and have paused this notification while we investigate and take appropriate action to address this unintended behavior,” Caitlin Roulston, Microsoft comms lead, told The Verge in a statement about the pop-up.

Every time Microsoft tries something like this, there’s an outcry from Windows users. More often than not, the company then has to apologize for its actions. I understand that competing with Google’s dominance over search and internet browsing is a very steep uphill battle, but repeatedly pissing off your customers doesn’t seem like a great strategy.

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.

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