Windows 10 Start Menu Ads For Edge Are An Antitrust Violation Waiting To Happen

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Microsoft is company that produces numerous software apps across many popular platforms. From its Windows software, to apps for Android and iOS, to its Office family of products, to its Edge web browser, Microsoft reaches a broad segment of the consumer market when it comes to computing devices.

However, the company's practices with respect to advertising some of these software packages to customers has been called into question recently. The most recent example of this is are advertisements that are showing up in Windows 10 for the Microsoft Edge browser. For Windows 10 users that have Mozilla Firefox installed and configured as their default internet browser, an ad is showing up in the Start Menu suggesting that they instead switch to Microsoft Edge. A reddit user posted a screenshot of the ad, which states: Still using Firefox? Microsoft Edge is here.

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Clicking on the link gives Windows 10 users the opportunity to download the latest Chromium version of Microsoft Edge. In yet another case, and one that doesn't seem as odious to us, an ad with a download link for Microsoft Edge was displayed when a redditor searched for Internet Explorer from the Start Menu.

In the first case, Microsoft is trying to use prime "real estate" in the Start Menu to promote one of its products – at the expense of a competitor -- in an operating system that customers have already paid for, which is downright frustrating. In the second case, however, the user is actively searching for a Microsoft product that the company itself is trying to deprecate and has been effectively replaced by a newer product -- in this case, Microsoft Edge.

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While the first case is likely highly annoying for those that willingly chose to install Firefox, and probably have no intention of using Microsoft Edge, some feel that it goes beyond mere annoyance. They feel that Microsoft is treading back down the patch of anticompetitive behavior that got it in trouble during its U.S. antitrust trial two decades ago. In the years since, the European Union has gone on to crack down on both Microsoft and Google over what they considering anticompetitive policies with their respective default browsers in Windows and Android.

In addition to the aforementioned Edge browser promotions, Microsoft has recently come under fire for advertising Office 365 in WordPad and using deceptive ads promoting Outlook in its Mail and Calendar apps.