Did Microsoft sabotage Google? Update suspiciously breaks popular Chrome feature

Microsoft Edge vs. Google Chrome
(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft is in the hot seat for reportedly thwarting a Google Chrome feature that allowed Windows users to make the popular browser their default web crawler in one click, according to Gizmodo.

It was a perk that Google quietly rolled out in July 2022. A new button appeared at the top of the screen, allowing Chrome users to change their default browser without going through the labyrinthine, tedious process in one's system settings.

The feature worked well for months — until Microsoft issued Windows update KB5025225 in April and complaints piled up. 

Did Microsoft pull the plug on beloved Chrome feature?

After the aforementioned update, users noticed that Chrome's one-click "make this your default" button no longer worked. Strangely enough, Gizmodo said that it managed to circumvent the issue by swapping the name of the Chrome app on a Windows desktop. "It seems that Microsoft threw up the roadblock specifically for Chrome, the main competitor to its Edge browser," Gizmodo said. 

Users with Windows Enterprise experienced more irksome bugs. Some reported that the Settings page would pop up every time they'd click on a link, but only if their default browser was set to Google Chrome.

Consequently, Google was forced to disable its one-click default button to rectify the settings page issue. (You win, Microsoft You win.) Interestingly, Gizmodo said that Google confirmed the details of its report, but declined to add any more commentary.

It’s past time for Microsoft to respect people’s preferences and allow them to use whatever browser they wish without interfering with their choice.

Firefox CPO Steve Teixeira

Firefox wasn't so quiet. Chief Product Officer Steve Teixeira is fed up with Microsoft's anti-competitive practices:

"When using Windows machines, Firefox users routinely encounter these kinds of barriers, such as overriding their selection of default browser, or pop-ups and misleading warnings attempting to persuade them that Edge is somehow safer. It’s past time for Microsoft to respect people’s preferences and allow them to use whatever browser they wish without interfering with their choice," Teixeira said.

According to StatCounter, between March 2022 and April 2023, Chrome nabbed 64% of the browser market share. Edge is third — a far third — with a measly share of 5%. It's no wonder that Microsoft appears to be on an aggressive campaign to hawk its Chromium-based browser. The Redmond-based tech giant injects massive ads into Edge search results if you look up Google Chrome.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge (Image credit: Future)

When go to your Windows system settings to change your default browser to Chrome, Microsoft finds a way to hawk its browser there, too.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge (Image credit: Future)

Gizmodo did reach out to Microsoft for comment, but insinuated that the Redmond-based tech giant provided a non-answer and directed the vertical to this blog.

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Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!