Ars Technica has published a third post about the annoying user experience of Microsoft Edge in as many days. Today’s was about a notice that appears when the user tries to use Edge to download Chrome. These are notices that are displayed by the browser itself whenever the user opens up the Chrome download page.

Now, setting aside the fact that these notices shouldn’t be shown to the user at all, what got up my goat was the copy that appears in one of them:

‘I hate saving money,’ said no one ever. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping.

What is with this copy? Do they assume that all users do with their computers is buy stuff? That their only motivation with using a browser at all is to participate in rampant consumerism?

I’m not a Microsoft Edge user, so it’s probably not worth my time to comment on this. But what bothers me is that I’m seeing a trend suggesting that large software companies only think their users are just using their devices to consume stuff. This might be true in the majority — I really don’t know — but the problem is that this line of thinking starts to bleed into their product decisions, and reveals what lengths they will go to to extract more money from these users. I’m going on about Edge here but Apple does the same thing in their OSes: showing notifications for TV+ or Apple Music or whatever service they’re trying to flog onto their customers this month. At least with web companies like Google, Twitter and Meta (née Facebook 😒), we get to use the service for free.

I know software is expensive to build and maintain, etc, etc. But this mode of thinking is so sleazy it’s becoming insulting. It just makes the experience of using the product worse all around, like going to a “free” event when you know you’ll be pushed to buy something. This is how these software companies want their users to feel?