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Microsoft’s return to it’s 1998 Anti-trust roots

April 28, 2021 - General Computing, Windows

Recently, I saw a tweet that gravely concerned me. It described a new feature being added to Task Manager. Edge Tabs are handled by separate Edge Processes, and Task Manager was able to display the individual tab titles. But there are no answers as to how this feature is implemented. So far those review it claim that it appears to either be Task Manager specifically catering to one of Microsoft’s own products, or otherwise using a completely undocumented set of APIs to allow Edge to communicate with Task Manager.

I think either of those options is unacceptable, because they represent a breech of user trust, as in both scenarios Microsoft is exploiting it’s position as OS Vendor to add features that add value only to their own, non-OS products. Whatever mechanism is being done to allow Task manager to show them should also allow Chrome (for example) to do the same thing. Otherwise, this is more or less the same sort of behaviour that got them in trouble in the 90’s. Unless this feature is publicly documented and available to other software vendors, This is a huge breach of user trust. It’s exploiting Microsoft’s position- once again- as an OS vendor to put their own products on a pedestal. Developers working on Windows should not be making changes to the OS that improve their other products. They should be working on features that allow all programs running on the OS to improve; not creating secret APIs or hard-coding special behaviour in for their own applications.

Of course, in today’s technology climate I’m not sure Microsoft would even face repercussions for this- which may be the risk assessment they did for this feature too. Even so, I still don’t think that makes it acceptable.

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