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Microsoft fixes Edge browser bug that was stealing Chrome tabs and data

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Microsoft has fixed an issue where its Edge browser was again misbehaving, this time by automatically importing browsing data and tabs from Chrome without consent. I personally experienced the bug last month, after I rebooted my PC for a regular Windows update and Microsoft Edge automatically opened with the Chrome tabs I was working on before the update.

I asked Microsoft repeatedly to explain why this behavior had occurred for myself and many other Windows users, but the company refused to comment. Microsoft has now quietly issued a fix in the latest Microsoft Edge update. Here’s how Microsoft describes the fix:

Edge has a feature that provides an option to import browser data on each launch from other browsers with user consent. This feature’s state might not have been syncing and displaying correctly across multiple devices. This is fixed.

The fix suggests that the setting for controlling the automatic import of browsing data wasn’t syncing and displaying correctly across devices. We’ve asked Microsoft for more clarity on the root cause of this issue, but we’re not holding our breath for a response.

I’m sure part of the reason Microsoft doesn’t want to comment here is because the company has a long history of using the sort of tactics we’ve seen from spyware developers to promote its web browser. While this latest issue could well be an innocent bug, some of the many tricks that Microsoft has used include monthly Windows updates that launch Edge and pin it to the desktop and taskbar without permission, and polls or prompts that suddenly appear to dissuade you from downloading Chrome.

Mozilla, the creators of the Firefox browser, recently commissioned a research paper “to investigate Microsoft’s tactics and the impact on consumers.” The paper explores Microsoft’s use of harmful design tactics that run contrary to the company’s own design guidelines, and can undermine competition from rival browsers.

These tactics include subtle ways to force Windows 11 users into Edge, ignoring the default browser if they clicked a link from the Windows Widgets panel or from search results. Microsoft also started forcing Outlook and Teams to open links in Edge last year, angering IT admins.

Some of these tactics will be addressed with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in EEA markets — which includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. These changes will allow Windows 11 users in these markets to uninstall Edge, and allow search providers like Google to extend the main Windows Search interface with their own custom web searches.

While the DMA regulations apply to Windows, Microsoft won’t have to make any changes to Edge, Bing, or Microsoft Advertising as they’re exempt from the DMA rules. “Microsoft recently pledged to stop some of the actions it takes to force Edge on users who have selected other browsers,” says Mozilla. “Unfortunately, these changes only address a small number of the tactics outlined in this report. And, to make matters worse, they will only be deployed to users in the EEA.”



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