Mozilla, in its recent report titled “Over the Edge: How Microsoft’s Design Tactics Compromise Free Browser Choice,” accuses Microsoft of employing “dark patterns” to steer Windows users toward its Edge browser.
The report highlights manipulative design patterns that coerce users into selecting Edge over alternative browsers.
This isn’t the first time Mozilla has raised such concerns, as previous reports also addressed competitive barriers imposed by major tech platforms.
The focus on Microsoft Edge underscores alleged design tactics aimed at limiting browser choice. Mozilla contends that such practices hinder competition and undermine user autonomy.
The report suggests that regulatory intervention, such as Europe’s Digital Markets Act, is necessary to promote fair competition.
However, Mozilla notes that improvements in regulatory frameworks have been slow and insufficient, with only partial concessions made in response to regulatory pressure.
Mozilla’s report identifies various manipulative interface patterns employed by Microsoft, including “Confirmshaming,” “Forced Action,” and “Visual Interference.”
Examples cited include Edge ads injected into the Chrome download page and Bing search results promoting Edge.
Such practices, according to Mozilla, undermine user trust and choice, potentially causing harm to consumers and the market.
This practice is nothing new for Microsoft which has been using such strategies for decades.
In the late 1990s, the U.S. government accused Microsoft of antitrust behavior, alleging it tried to monopolize the PC market by engaging in anticompetitive practices such as bundling its products and stifling competition from rivals like Netscape and Java.
Mozilla calls for an immediate cessation of these manipulative tactics by Microsoft, urging respect for user choice and fair competition.