09 May 2017

ZDNet: “What is Windows 10 S?”

What browsers are available?

The Windows 10 S configuration locks it to the Edge browser. There are no other options for desktop browsers. That means Google Chrome, for example, won’t run unless Google develops a Universal Windows Platform version of Chrome and submits it to the Store. We don’t know whether Internet Explorer 11 will be available as an option.

The default search provider is Bing (and “designated regional search providers”). That setting controls searches from the address bar and the taskbar search box and cannot be changed. Of course, nothing prevents a user from creating a bookmark to Google Search, or even setting it as the home page.

Ed Bott

My first reaction was that this invites – again – the prospect of antitrust investigations against Microsoft. On the other hand… Microsoft can now point at the competition (iPads and Chromebooks), which have similar rules for browsers and default apps. And the European Union ruling regarding the browser choice screen expired more than two years ago, so there’s no legal impediment (for now).

Restricting the search engine to Bing seems to go too far – after all, iOS allows you to change the search engine from a short predefined list – but you have to keep in mind that Google is actually paying Apple to stay the default search engine on iOS (and a hefty sum at that). Under these circumstances, I’m sure Microsoft would be open to adding Google search, even as default, for the right fee.

Update: some new information: according to the Windows Store Policies, alternative browsers have to use the Edge rendering engine – just like iOS apps are required to use WebKit.

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