Microsoft has announced that Cortana, the digital assistant, will be restricted to Edge browser and Bing search engine, which means that Windows 10 users will no longer view results with third party browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, or other search engines. General manager of search and Cortana Ryan Gavin said that Microsoft did this in order to offer users a “personalized, end-to-end search experience.”
Ryan Gavin has posted on Windows Experience blog that along with the growth of Windows 10 in adoption and usage, more and more software programs redirected users to “search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana” and because of that, the result was “a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable”, adding that “The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can’t depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser.”
Many critics accused Microsoft that it’s trying to protect the ad revenues generated through Bing searches, as after the addition of Cortana in Windows 10 to the new browser, Edge, those revenues had a double-digit growth. Edge became the new default browser in Windows 10 and searches were pushed through Bing. But, initially, users were able to change their preferences and to use other browsers and search engines. Now that Microsoft has made some changes, difficult-to-enable workarounds adopted by users will no longer work when they will launch searches with Cortana.
Google is dominating online search, as according to Netmarketshare, in March, it owned 68 percent of the global market, while Bing had over 13 percent. In 2015, Bing ranked $20.5 billion, seeing an increase of 8 percent from the previous year, while in March 2016, over 35 percent of search revenues came through Windows 10. However, Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group believes that Bing can’t be a stronger alternative on smartphones.