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Friday, February 16, 2024

Microsoft fixes Edge browser bug that was stealing Chrome tabs and knowledge

Microsoft has mounted a problem the place its Edge browser was once more misbehaving, this time by robotically importing searching knowledge and tabs from Chrome with out consent. I personally skilled the bug final month, after I rebooted my PC for a daily Home windows replace and Microsoft Edge robotically opened with the Chrome tabs I used to be engaged on earlier than the replace.

I requested Microsoft repeatedly to elucidate why this habits had occurred for myself and plenty of different Home windows customers, however the firm refused to remark. Microsoft has now quietly issued a repair within the newest Microsoft Edge replace. Right here’s how Microsoft describes the repair:

Edge has a function that gives an choice to import browser knowledge on every launch from different browsers with consumer consent. This function’s state may not have been syncing and displaying appropriately throughout a number of gadgets. That is mounted.

The repair means that the setting for controlling the automated import of searching knowledge wasn’t syncing and displaying appropriately throughout gadgets. We’ve requested Microsoft for extra readability on the foundation explanation for this difficulty, however we’re not holding our breath for a response.

I’m positive a part of the explanation Microsoft doesn’t wish to remark right here is as a result of the corporate has a protracted historical past of utilizing the form of techniques we’ve seen from spyware and adware builders to advertise its net browser. Whereas this newest difficulty might nicely be an harmless bug, among the many methods that Microsoft has used embrace month-to-month Home windows updates that launch Edge and pin it to the desktop and taskbar with out permission, and polls or prompts that abruptly seem to dissuade you from downloading Chrome.

Mozilla, the creators of the Firefox browser, just lately commissioned a analysis paper “to research Microsoft’s techniques and the influence on shoppers.” The paper explores Microsoft’s use of dangerous design techniques that run opposite to the corporate’s personal design pointers, and might undermine competitors from rival browsers.

These techniques embrace delicate methods to power Home windows 11 customers into Edge, ignoring the default browser in the event that they clicked a hyperlink from the Home windows Widgets panel or from search outcomes. Microsoft additionally began forcing Outlook and Groups to open hyperlinks in Edge final 12 months, angering IT admins.

A few of these techniques might be addressed with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in EEA markets — which incorporates EU nations and in addition Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. These adjustments will permit Home windows 11 customers in these markets to uninstall Edge, and permit search suppliers like Google to increase the primary Home windows Search interface with their very own customized net searches.

Whereas the DMA rules apply to Home windows, Microsoft received’t must make any adjustments to Edge, Bing, or Microsoft Promoting as they’re exempt from the DMA guidelines. “Microsoft just lately pledged to cease among the actions it takes to power Edge on customers who’ve chosen different browsers,” says Mozilla. “Sadly, these adjustments solely deal with a small variety of the techniques outlined on this report. And, to make issues worse, they are going to solely be deployed to customers within the EEA.”

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