Microsoft defends 'malware-like' pop ups pushing Bing on Windows 11, calling them 'unintended behavior'

 Windows 11 forcing Bing meme
Windows 11 forcing Bing meme

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is showing a prompt to use Bing to some people who use Google Chrome.

  • Microsoft claims that the notification is "unintended behavior" and has paused it.

  • Many are dubious of Microsoft's claim since the company has aggressively pushed Bing to users in the past.

Microsoft is once again pushing Bing through Windows 11. The tech giant spamming people with prompts and notifications to try Bing is nothing new, but the latest chapter of the ongoing saga is likely to anger folks.

People have seen prompts to switch to Bing and showed them on Reddit for months, but The Verge's Tom Warren brought the issue to the forefront. Warren saw a pop-up recently the was particularly pushy. Rather than a notification within Edge or even the notification center within Windows 11, Warren spotted an executable file that caused a pop-up to appear on the desktop.

The prompt suggest switching your default search engine in Chrome to Microsoft Bing. The nature of the notification caused some, including Warren, to call it "malware-like." There' certainly an argument for that, as Microsoft added a random executable file to the Windows 11 operating system to push a service that people didn't sign up for.

Microsoft claimed that the pop-up was not intentional, which is certainly a choice. "We are aware of these reports and have paused this notification while we investigate and take appropriate action to address this unintended behavior."

I imagine that Microsoft is hard at work investigation the "not intentional" behavior, as executable files creeping their way into Windows 11 seems like a serious security risk.

Analysis: Microsoft's greed ruins Windows and Edge

In my mind, I want to be angry about this, but I'm almost numb to it at this point. Microsoft has decided that monetizing Windows, which already costs users money by the way, is more important than the user experience. Even as someone who uses Edge and Bing, I don't want to see Microsoft push them like this.

I've seen people defend moves like this before, often citing that Google is aggressive with pushing its services. To me, two wrongs don't make a right.

The most recent notification is particularly upsetting because it isn't even within Microsoft's browser. It's not like someone searched for Google within Edge and Microsoft suggested Bing. I don't love that either, but it kind of makes sense. This is a separate executable file popping up a prompt on Windows when someone uses Chrome, a program Microsoft does not make.

Edge and Bing are fine. It's okay for Microsoft to be proud of them and want people to use them. It's not okay to hijack Windows to show up special notifications that are in a class of their own.