68-year-old technology writer Charles Petzold wrote about Windows programming for 25 years, including several books published by Microsoft Press. In 1994 he was one of seven “Windows Pioneers” honored in a special ceremony (with an award presented by Bill Gates), and the company has also recognized him with their “Most Valuable Professional” award.
Petzold just wrote a blog post titled “Screw you, Microsoft Edge” when the browser spontaneously decided to advise him of a discount at Walmart.Recently while searching for a book on Bookshop.org, I was interrupted by a popup apparently generated by Microsoft Edge advising me of an alternative… Excuse me?
The assumption that I need help buying a book is the biggest insult I’ve encountered on Windows since the days of Clippy.
A further insult is the implication that I make buying decisions based solely on price… I might prefer a retailer that focuses solely on books, or a retailer that is not a large chain. More generally, I might make a decision based on the company’s carbon footprint, or perhaps their reputation in paying fair wages, or what political candidates and movements they support, or whether the CEO uses his wealth to launch himself into space.
Of course, these concepts are entirely beyond the scope of Edge’s braindead algorithm that apparently knows only whether one number is larger than another.
In November Microsoft had described the upcoming popups announcing better prices as “a proactive price comparison experience that meets you where you shop. When you’re shopping, Microsoft Edge will check prices at competing retailers to let you know if a lower price is available elsewhere…”
Promising there’d be even more shopping experiences coming, they’d added, “we’d love to hear what you think of them so far!”