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Windows 10's Cortana searches now use Bing and Edge exclusively

Microsoft has made changes to Windows 10 such that Cortana will only launch with its Edge browser and retrieve Bing search results. No exceptions.

Published onApril 29, 2016

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Search is big money. BIG money. Google’s entire electronic empire is based on revenue it earns from the world’s queries, and the Gapps and Google Play Services that belong to Android are coordinated into this scenario as well. It might come as no small surprise, therefore, that Microsoft is none too happy about all this. The company has set its new Edge browser as the default for Windows 10 and, at least initially, made it quite difficult for casual users to “discover” how to change it.

Yesterday a post was made on the company’s blog that quickly picked up some attention. The cause for concern was clear: Microsoft is now preventing its integrated search assistant Cortana from collaborating with rivals. This means that all content provided by Cortana will be handled by the company’s own search engine, Bing, and all results will be displayed with its Edge browser. No other option possible.

Here is how the Microsoft’s Ryan Gavin, General Manager of Search and Cortana, explained it:

Protecting the Integrated Search Experience in Windows 10
Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana. The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable.
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. The only way we can confidently deliver this personalized, end-to-end search experience is through the integration of Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Bing – all designed to do more for you.
Starting today, to ensure we can deliver the integrated search experience designed for Windows 10, Microsoft Edge will be the only browser that will launch when you search from the Cortana box.

For reference, even Apple allows users to manually select the search engine to display results from Siri, thus Microsoft is definitely taking a firm stance here.

It should also be clarified, as Microsoft itself points out, “you can continue to use your search engine and browser of choice on Windows 10”. Just to be clear, the issue being addressed in this piece only pertains to searches performed by Cortana.

The Bing thing

bing rewards

Despite the general disgust one might expect from a Google-oriented crowd, a report by Comscore from last fall indicated that Bing is slowly but surely eating away at Mountain View’s search dominance. It was calculated that Google currently has roughly 64% of the market, and Microsoft just shy of 21%. Yahoo, for reference, comprised the remaining 12.5%.

While some might feel Microsoft is out of order in subjugating Cortana, it is important to remember a few things:

  1. Google does the same thing.
  2. Android does the same thing, including the Voice Search.
  3. Windows 10 is a Microsoft product.
  4. Bing is a Microsoft product.

While Microsoft may be perfectly within its right to cut out the competition, it is likely to displease users who are less than thrilled with Bing-anything. As a result, this kind of “deep integration” may result in a significant decrease of Cortana-related searches. At the start of the year, SitePoint analyzed internet browser market share and the results indicated Chrome has almost 54% at the end of 2015. Internet Explorer on the other hand – all variants collectively – had about 15%.

Based on this data, it is quite clear why Microsoft is so intent on Bing integration: it wants more market share for its products which, in turn, translates to more revenue. The very fact that it has released Cortana for its rival’s OS should be evidence enough.

What do you think? Has Microsoft gone too far with this decision? Will this allow it to provide the best Windows 10 experience for customers? Drop a line down below!

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