Microsoft Continues to Bog Down Edge with Unnecessary Bloat

Call it the Teamsification of Microsoft Edge: the software giant revealed that it will add yet another superfluous feature to its web browser. And this one is maybe not such a great idea.

“Usually, “Buy now, pay later,” or BNPL, is offered in specific e-commerce websites like Target, Walmart,” Microsoft’s Mei Hua explains of the new feature in the well-hidden announcement post. “But now, Microsoft partners with 3rd party Zip (previously Quadpay) to offer a BNPL payment option at [the] browser level. It means any purchase between $35 – $1,000 you make through Microsoft Edge can be split into 4 installments over 6 weeks.”

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Yeah. And is that really a good idea?

As with any financial discussion, we should acknowledge that there are people who might take advantage of such a thing responsibly. And that there are those who simply can’t afford the thing they’re buying and are taking advantage of this feature irresponsibly, and that doing so could be part of a pattern of abuse that has long-term implications. Put more simply by an old adage, yes, we can do this thing, but no one ever asked if we should.

So there’s that. But I also take great exception with the many features that Microsoft continues to add to its browser. Sure, these things help differentiate it from the competition. But piling on the features makes Edge bloated and busy, especially for the majority of people who don’t want them. And web browsers already have an extensions model for adding functionality that doesn’t belong in the core browser. In its blind grab for extraneous revenue sources, Microsoft is starting to drive away its biggest fans.

There’s a simple answer to this problem, of course: Edge should simply advertise optional features during its first-run experience so that users who do want this dreck can add them. And then it can advertise optional new features, once, to existing users when they are made available. I know. It’s almost too elegant.

As for this BNPL nonsense, this feature is currently available in the Microsoft Edge Canary and Dev channels. But it will be made available by default to all users in Microsoft Edge in version 96. So enjoy that credit application process the first time you use it. But, seriously. Don’t use it.

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Conversation 51 comments

  • navarac

    17 November, 2021 - 9:43 am

    <p>Obviously we now know that Microsoft is now controlled by a load of money grabbing Shylocks.</p>

    • hrlngrv

      Premium Member
      17 November, 2021 - 1:45 pm

      <p>As opposed to Bill Gates, who never cared about the money and just wanted <strong><em>LIMITLESS POWER</em></strong>?</p>

      • navarac

        17 November, 2021 - 4:53 pm

        <p>LOL :-)</p>

      • rgelb

        18 November, 2021 - 3:09 am

        <p>I think Bill Gates cared about winning and beating the competition first and foremost. Money was just a consequence of his success.</p>

        • hrlngrv

          Premium Member
          20 November, 2021 - 7:59 pm

          <p>It was Gates’s gleeful embrace of apparently (per US law) illegal means to accomplish his ends which made him so notable.</p>

    • ontariopundit

      17 November, 2021 - 7:20 pm

      <p>And this is different from every other for-profit company in which way exactly?</p>

      • navarac

        18 November, 2021 - 9:42 am

        <p>No different at all, but Microsoft does pretend it has better morals. Hypocritical to say the least.</p>

        • Steve

          26 February, 2023 - 2:31 pm

          I’ve heard a lot of things said about Microsoft, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone accuse them of being moralistic before.

  • sgbassett

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 9:46 am

    <p>I have enjoyed Edge telling me if there are lower prices on products and searching for coupons. But this seems a step too far. Why is financing a purchase once you have decided what to buy a browser function? Searching for what to buy seems more like a browser function, but not financing. </p>

    • dftf

      17 November, 2021 - 2:57 pm

      <p>Even that feature ("Shopping in Edge") I’ve found less-useful recently for a few reasons: firstly, the coupon-codes rarely work, and there’s no option to report-back ones that don’t. Second, I’ve been on some sites where it oddly gives me price-comparisons in US Dollars, even though I’m in the UK (and no, I’m not using a VPN). And lastly, it doesn’t always detect the price on a page properly: an item might cost £60, but there might be a bit on the page advertising that you could pay in four instalments of £15, and Edge detects that £15 as the item-price and proudly announces "Price has dropped to the lowest we’ve seen". Seems more of a bother recently</p>

  • Bart

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 9:49 am

    <p>Bizar Microsoft doesn’t make an extension of this sort of features instead of putting it in the browser. Where nobody wants it in the first place.</p>

    • Steve

      26 February, 2023 - 2:37 pm

      They don’t make these features optional because they know nobody actually WANTS the features, the hope is by forcing it down everyone’s throats that some people will use it because it’s there, some people will click in the wrong place, some people’s kids will use the function without their parents permission. etc. It’s intentional user-hostility in the name of money. Chrome is also increasingly becoming a marketing tool, also.

  • squage

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 9:49 am

    <p>This at the same time they’re trying to strong-arm everyone into using Edge in Win 11. The old "embrace, extend, extinguish" methodology appears alive and well in their adoption of Chromium.</p>

  • StagyarZilDoggo

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 9:50 am

    <p>I guess this will be US only (maybe US/Canada), like a lot of Microsoft stuff these days. Usually we Europeans grumble about these – this time, not so much…</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      17 November, 2021 - 10:05 am

      <p>Yes, over the last decade, I’ve often cried out that these US only products are exactly what I want, and why can’t we have them here…</p><p><br></p><p>This time, I’m muttering, "thank God for small mercies!"</p>

  • mattbg

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 9:59 am

    <p>I miss the days when I paid for Windows every few years and it was focused on helping me get through my day productively.</p><p><br></p><p>Windows is now starting to look more like a loss leader they use to sell you other products.</p>

  • christianwilson

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 10:12 am

    <p>As Bart stated here already, this is a great example of something Microsoft could release as an "official" Edge extension. Same with the coupon feature. These are useful functions for some people, but they add unnecessary bloat and complexity to what started out as a very good alternative to Chrome.</p><p><br></p><p>Most of us just want a standards compliant browser that is fast and secure with minimal impact on battery life. Edge started out that way. It was nice. </p>

  • tony_ansley

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 10:50 am

    <p>I assume they are offering a way to disable this feature…like they do for the shopping feature?</p>

  • sherlockholmes

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 11:29 am

    <p>I think its time for The Gong on Windows Weekly today …..</p>

    • navarac

      18 November, 2021 - 9:51 am

      <p>I was disappointed that Paul was so restrained…</p>

  • sharps

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 11:47 am

    <p>I wonder if Microsoft gets a cut of the money from their "Third Party" Zip?</p>

    • david.thunderbird

      17 November, 2021 - 1:28 pm

      <p>You betcha!</p>

  • Chris_Kez

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 12:49 pm

    <p>And to think that Edge started life as <em>Spartan</em>; it is becoming anything but.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      18 November, 2021 - 8:51 am

      <p>This is the perfect commentary.</p>

    • hrlngrv

      Premium Member
      20 November, 2021 - 8:11 pm

      <p>MSFT learns from mistakes, and $$$ is the usual teacher.</p><p><br></p><p>If bloat-free software could generate more revenues than, er, feature-rich software, MSFT would make bloat-free software. Ponder the opposite case. This is nothing more that just another dollop of evidence that $$$ is all that matters to MSFT.</p>

  • winner

    17 November, 2021 - 12:57 pm

    <p>"Bloat…’s what we do!"</p>

    • hrlngrv

      Premium Member
      20 November, 2021 - 8:06 pm

      <p><em>Bloat</em> is such a short word to describe it. Maybe <em>functional hyperdistention</em>.</p>

  • waethorn

    17 November, 2021 - 1:02 pm

    <p>Microsoft is also using Rakuten to handle their Microsoft 365 affiliate program.</p>

  • brettscoast

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 1:16 pm

    <p>I cannot believe Microsoft in all good conscience would go down this path. In what has been a PR nightmare for MS in regard to removing a user’s choice of being able to select their preferred default web browser they double down foisting this BNPL crap on user’s through the edge browser. Not cool.</p>

  • jupast

    17 November, 2021 - 1:17 pm

    <p>Agreed. As others have said, why not just make things that 99% probably aren’t using (a Math Solver??) an official Microsoft extension instead.</p><p><br></p><p>This is going the way of MSN Messenger where it was perfect, until they loaded it up with bloat because they have to look like they’re doing something with their products.</p>

    • dftf

      17 November, 2021 - 2:52 pm

      <p>"Maths Solver", "Collections", "Taskbar Pinning Wizard", "Show suggestions from Pinterest" and now this are all things I’ll never use.</p><p><br></p><p>Sometimes the "Shopping in Edge" can be useful, though I rarely find any of the coupon-codes ever work, and there is no way of reporting when a code doesn’t work.</p>

  • hrlngrv

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 1:49 pm

    <p>The only people who fit in at MSFT would NEVER pass up any opportunity at monetization.</p>

  • willr

    17 November, 2021 - 2:18 pm

    <p>Paul seriously, do you know what’s going on inside Microsoft? I would love to know wtf is going on, because as of this buy now/pay later thing, we are now into the realm of ridiculous. A lot of the decisions being made lately aren’t those of a level headed, reasonable person</p>

    • navarac

      17 November, 2021 - 4:57 pm

      <p>"One flew over the cuckoos nest" comes to mind.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      18 November, 2021 - 8:51 am

      <p>I can’t even try to explain this. It’s troubling.</p>

      • hrlngrv

        Premium Member
        20 November, 2021 - 8:03 pm

        <p>Only because you’re unwilling to believe the worst in people no matter how often they give free vent to their worst inner selves. Perhaps your own sense of self worth makes it, er, problematic for you to consider that you’ve spent the greater chunk of your life focusing on a corporation which puts the <strong><em>A</em></strong> in <strong><em>Amoral</em></strong>.</p>

    • ontariopundit

      20 November, 2021 - 7:48 am

      <p>Microsoft’s senior management must really hate the Edge team. First, they throw all the good work the team did fixing the debacle that was Edge in 2015 by making Edge a clone of Chrome. Now they add something that’s 100% useless?</p><p><br></p><p>SNL couldn’t even come up with something this funny. Life really is stranger than fiction.</p><p><br></p><p>Does Microsoft <strong>want</strong> people to associate the use of Edge with financial desperation?</p><p><br></p><p>Having the buy now, pay later label means that using Edge is something you do based on your socioeconomic status. If you are poor, you use Edge. If you won’t want to be perceived as poor, you use Chrome or FireFox or something else.</p><p><br></p><p>This is very risky from a reputational standpoint. Once people perceive your product as being for people without money there goes your reputation.</p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft has worked long and hard to try to make the Surface line of devices an alternative to Apple’s MacBooks and iPads. If they start offering discount brand-type products under the Microsoft label then there goes the Surface reputation.</p>

  • cnc123

    17 November, 2021 - 5:28 pm

    <p>Thank you, Paul for reporting on and voicing an opinion on this. This sort of thing is predatory and has no business being in a web browser. This is payday lending level stuff, and Microsoft should not be taking a cut of that.</p>

    • navarac

      18 November, 2021 - 9:47 am

      <p>In the UK, in&nbsp;<strong>2015,</strong>&nbsp;the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) introduced stricter rules on payday lending to help regulate the market, making it fairer for borrowers. With a bit of luck this BNPL crap will be a "North America Only" thing, like so much else, thank goodness.</p>

  • bleeman

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 6:17 pm

    <p>I’ve also noticed on the Xbox Rewards app on the Xbox, when you attempt to go to the Rewards page it no longer takes you to the website that you go to on the PC. It now forces you to use Bing. I tried uninstalling Bing to see if that would then default back to Edge but no go. Instead, it just takes you to the Bing app so you can reinstall it. So, this force it down your throat approach isn’t just limited to the PC. I don’t mind Bing per se as I use it regularly, the problem is without accessing the website you don’t see all the other available reward earning options, just the 3 daily ones.</p>

    • faustxd9

      Premium Member
      18 November, 2021 - 2:28 pm

      <p>That is strange since the Bing app on iOS and Android does show those rewards once you scroll past the three main ones.</p>

  • bats

    17 November, 2021 - 6:54 pm

    <p>LOL…why the Microsoft hate, so early? I actually don’t see the big deal. I mean….so what? Does this plug-in effect browser performance? it’s clear to me, as with every single Microsoft product, that they trying to transform their software into a platform. This is what I was saying years ago….that the browser is no longer just a browser…’s an "Operating System" within an Operating System. In this case, Microsoft Edge is also trying to be a portal of sorts. I applaud them for trying this. My only question is this: Will their partnership with Quadpay, allow the user to BNPL for ALL stores and not just a few? If its for ALL stores, I can’t see the problem with that, but if not then I don’t see the point. However, If people don’t like it, then they shouldn’t use it. My guess, is that with Edge’s probably close tie in with the Windows, that performance hinderance could be kept at a minimum. Bloatware is "ware" that slows down the main software right? IMO, we should wait and see. I bet ya know, Microsoft expects sales to rise for their Surface computer now. ?</p>

    • ontariopundit

      20 November, 2021 - 8:00 am

      <p>It’s not a big deal. Until it is :). Ok, let’s put silly statements aside.</p><p><br></p><p>”<em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">However, If people don’t like it, then they shouldn’t use it. My guess, is that with Edge’s probably close tie in with the Windows, that performance hinderance could be kept at a minimum. Bloatware is "ware" that slows down the main software right?</em><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">” </span></p><p><br></p><p>I’d argue bloatware is anything that interferes with the core functionality of a piece of software. Buy Now Pay Later is not in the least part of the core functionality of a browser unless your primary reason for using a browser is buying things when you are poor.</p><p><br></p><p>BNPL will no doubt need an interface. It will need to be discoverable. That means it’ll need to generate friction in the daily use of your browser. Friction gets in the way of efficient use of a device. To me that friction is bloat</p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">”</span><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">IMO, we should wait and see. I bet ya know, Microsoft expects sales to rise for their Surface computer now.</em><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">"</span></p><p><br></p><p>Unless they cut their profit margins they won’t.</p><p><br></p><p>BNPL is a double-edged sword. The primary target audience for BNPL are people without money. If people get wind of Edge becoming a haven for BNPL then that sends the market a signal that you should only be using Edge if you’re poor. Not a good signal to send if you want to sell a premium device to customers who don’t need to use BNPL.</p><p><br></p><p>There’s also the problem of financial fraud. Yes, any website in any browser can lead to fraud. But, when the browser is explicitly designed to engage in financial transactions then you have that much more opportunity for nefarious actors to abuse it.</p>

  • martinusv2

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 7:30 pm

    <p>I know it may be useless to do it. But sent feedback from Edge. If many do, they may reconsider. </p>

  • jdawgnoonan

    17 November, 2021 - 9:10 pm

    <p>Is this one more feature like the annoying coupons that I have to repeatedly turn off when the annoying icon shows up and I find that Microsoft has turned it back on with an update? I seriously wonder how many people use these annoying "Features". Fortunately, in the me too world of Chromium based browsers there will always be alternatives that lack these annoyances. </p>

  • scovious

    17 November, 2021 - 10:07 pm

    <p>I understand wanting to see this as an extension, but due to the inherent instability and untrustworthiness of some extensions, and the fact we are talking about payments here – I would personally only use a service like this if it was made by an extremely trustworthy company like Microsoft. Trusting something as important as payments, or even password management to an extension is just risky unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing. </p>

  • matsan

    Premium Member
    18 November, 2021 - 1:29 am

    <p>As an international user from Sweden I’m dead sick and tired of Microsoft and its US-centric approach and especially the msn startpage. Just looking at the What’s New for Edge 95:</p><ul><li>TV Streaming from philo+ US Only (maybe not a great name for a service, but who am I to judge)</li><li>Hispanic Heritage themes</li><li>Ratings and Reviews – no support for anything in Sweden</li><li>Express Checkout – guess what happens if i change my shipping address to Sweden</li></ul><p><br></p><p>If Microsoft is aiming for another bogged down platform they are on the right track. For good measure just make it close to impossible for the average user to change the default browser.</p><p>Sigh!</p>

  • Rainer Fuchs

    18 November, 2021 - 8:49 am

    <p>I never bothered moving from Chrome to Edge. It was so predictable that Microsoft would "load" its new browser—supposed to be faster, more lightweight, more secure—with all sorts of useless crap. </p>

    • ontariopundit

      20 November, 2021 - 8:06 am

      <p>I must confess I never moved from Chrome to Edge because Edge does not have Google account integration. My work account is capable of being both dual Google and Microsoft but my personal accounts are all Google/GMail based (including my own personal domain email).</p><p><br></p><p>On the surface Edge seems OK but Microsoft has a long history of producing bad browsers. Fool me once, like Internet Explorer, shame on you. Fool me twice, like with Edge 2015, shame on me.</p><p><br></p><p>Besides, Edge is a clone of Chrome and it has, in many ways, a worse interface that also isn’t cross-platform. Chrome can be found on pretty much every single Windows, Mac, Chromebook and Linux-box out there. Edge. You’d have to install it yourself.</p>

  • innitrichie

    19 November, 2021 - 6:46 am

    <p>Chrome is rapidly becoming the lightweight alternative to Edge.</p>

  • JH_Radio

    Premium Member
    19 November, 2021 - 4:01 pm

    <p>I think this could be useful for some folks. My thing is if you don’t wanna use it, don’t. </p><p><br></p>

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