Microsoft has already made it more difficult to switch default browsers in Windows 11, and now the company is going a step further by blocking apps like EdgeDeflector. Third-party apps like EdgeDeflector and even Firefox have offered workarounds to Microsoft forcing people to use Edge in Start menu search results, even if their default browser is not Edge.
Microsoft has been forcing Windows 10 and Windows 11 users into Edge and its Bing search engine in the Start menu search results, and now with the new Widgets panel in Windows 11. It’s a frustrating part of Windows that doesn’t respect your default browser choice. EdgeDeflector lets you bypass these restrictions, and open Start menu search results in your default browser of choice.
Clearly, this should be illegal.
Man this has so many similarities to their previous antitrust case. Same sort of tactics, they were guilty and warned to stop blocking competition, however they were never really punished for it. Imposing restrictions that remove consumer choice is terrible for the free market regardless of who’s doing it. They know the government is unlikely to prosecute, and if they do it’s unlikely to be consequential. For monopolistic corporations, antitrust is a mere cost of doing business. When fines are paltry compared to the value of inflicting damage to completion, they’re worth every penny.
It’s doubtful congress will get out of it’s logjam any time soon, but if representatives don’t fix this soon, then the impact on competition will be permanent. The amount in penalties years into the future (if any at all) will never be enough to rebuild the competition.