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Should Microsoft Edge have shopping features built in?

Microsoft Edge Update Dev New
Microsoft Edge Update Dev New (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Microsoft Edge has a new feature in the works that allows online shoppers to spread payment across multiple installments. It's called buy now, pay later (BNPL), and it's caused quite the stir on the web. BNPL is currently in testing on Microsoft Edge Dev. The post announcing the feature has over 200 comments, many of which are extremely negative.

Critics of the option have called the integration of BNPL with Edge a "shameless cash grab," "bloat," and "exploitive." People have added dozens of tags to the Tech Community announcement post (opens in new tab), such as "predatory," "garbage," and "poor leadership."

The core argument of many is that Microsoft should not build this type of functionality directly within the Edge browser. Instead, critics call for extensions to be used for shopping features. Buy now, pay later functionality has been particularly criticized because many people that use the feature fall behind on payments and end up in debt.

Microsoft appears to disagree with these sentiments, as the company started testing BNPL in Edge in mid-November. It partnered with Zip, which powers the feature.

Edge includes several shopping features, such as a coupon tool that helps you find discounts. Microsoft highlights this fact in a campaign that shows prompts when people try to download Google Chrome through Edge.

One of the messages that appears states:

"'I hate saving money,' said no one ever. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping."

Microsoft has marketed Edge as the "best browser for shopping." BNPL seems like an extension of this platform, as it provides another option for online purchases.

Do you think Microsoft Edge should have shopping features built in? Let us know in the poll above and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

50 Comments
  • For people who don't know, the Shopping feature is one of a number of built-in "services" in Microsoft Edge, all of which can be disabled. (Think of these are like built-in, first party extensions.) If you prefer not to use these you can easily turn them off. Within Edge Settings, navigate to Privacy, search and services, scroll to the bottom of this page, and toggle the services you choose. Microsoft appears to be targeting mainstream Windows users with these features, not browser power users. In any case, we get to choose whether to use them or not.
  • Should not be in there in the first place, this is what makes a browser bulky, I want a browser to be a browser.
  • Are saying a few lines of code are bulky? These are light blocks of code that hook into and run from web services and aren't really making the browser 'Bulky'. - Proof? Edge is still much lighter and faster than Chrome. If BULKY matters, then everyone complaining is already using Edge as it has been consistently 10-20% faster than Chrome and other browsers and uses less CPU cycles and less RAM. If you don't want the features, turn them off. Here is the problem. What is part of a browser? I can name 20-30 features in Chrome that are bulky and not what I would consider to be part of a Browser. These types of debates have been forever, with OS engineers fighting in the 80s and 90s what was part of an operating system. People like yourself once argued that displaying vector fonts or rendering bitmap images or playing sound were not part of the OS. Should companies limit technology and functionality because some crazy person doesn't think that features should exist or that features should be implemented outside the OS or outside the browser. Microsoft's biggest sin was INCLUDING media playback and a browser renderer for developers in Windows - that was the crux of the whole anti-trust, and Microsoft was right - those are essential features of an OS.
  • Yes, one person's "bloat" can be another person's "thanks for including that for free for me." If it's not hassleware that keeps poking me until I spend money or spying on me w/o my knowledge, I'm willing to figure that even if I don't care about it (I won't ever use a BNPL system), it's really in that second category.
  • I have not used chrome for years, trying out Vivaldi at the moment, it doesn't seem to have a lot of stuff added that is not required. You say Edge is lighter than chrome, but it is in the OS if we want it or not and that is the problem and have been the problem with Windows since Windows 95, with a browser integrated into the OS that we can not remove. Faster? Maybe, but is it noticeable? I think windows is now full of rubbish that so many people will not use, and it has got worse, certainly with Windows 10 and 11, look at all this Emoji rubbish that have been included and then we got the photos app and snip and sketch, plus other stuff.
    sure, if people want them, then fine, but can we not have an option to set up what to include?
    the same with browsers.
    I don't like Edge anyway, I tried it when i used Windows 11 for a couple of weeks and I hate the new tab thing or the start-up page with all the rubbish that is on it and that is no way to make it a blank page unless an extension is used. At least Vivaldi gives me a blank page. anyway, i doubt the buy now, pay later thing will come to the u.K.
  • Maybe cars should not come with tyres so that I can put tyres from my favourite brand. Only issue is that, I cannot take the car from showroom to the place where Tyre can be fixed 🤔 If Windows is garbage you have Mac and tons of Linux distros available. I love the new Edge and it's features like tab group, collections etc. If shopping is bulky I will disable it. As simple as that.
  • @Sukesh Ashok Kumar "Maybe cars should not come with tyres so that I can put tyres from my favourite brand" That's a silly analogy. "If Windows is garbage you have Mac and tons of Linux distros available" Strawman argument and you know it, stop being disingenuous. Most users are comfortable with Windows itself but are annoyed with how MS are bloating out Edge and forcing Edge/Bing usage to falsely inflate usage numbers. "I love the new Edge and it's features like tab group, collections etc. If shopping is bulky I will disable it. As simple as that" Bloat, bloat, bloat...it's as simple as that and this buy now pay later garbage was once beneath MS. What happened to MS!
  • But with some cars you can choose what tires and other features, depending on what you need.
    I never said Windows was garbage as you put it, but there it seems to have it fair shar of problems and MS seems to think they know what is best for people, and they don't. Sound like supermarkts. i am looking at going for a Mac, well if I MS is bloating Windows and trying to force us to use their services, I may as well go for a reliable OS. anyway, I have been using windows since 1997, it is time for a change and looking at the price to update this machine to something worthwhile, I thought maybe the mac mini is the way to go, a small quiet machine. I am going to wait for a couple of months or so and see if Apple bring out a higher spec m1 chip for the mini.
    i would love to go for Linux, but it has it own problems, with software,and lack of compatibility with 4K monitors.
  • I'm fine with them being built in, but they should be off by default. I like Microsoft and that their mission is "to empower people to achieve more," but I have an issue when they are adding features that encourage people to spend money, especially ones that essentially establish credit to let people buy things they don't have the cash for on hand. The fact that almost half of Americans would struggle to handle an unexpected $400 expense means that too many people are already living hand to mouth. More credit is not the answer, and isn't something Microsoft should be contributing to.
  • "establish credit to let people buy things they don't have the cash for on hand" That's the point of a credit market. Why is that wrong? "almost half of Americans would struggle to handle an unexpected $400 expense" That's also the point of borrowing. Letting people smooth out their payments is one reason we borrow. What's wrong with that?
  • Nothing if it done responsibly, much like drinking.
  • To be clear, I have no problem with credit, I have a problem with Microsoft building in a feature that encourages more credit to make it easier to buy more things. Credit is something that needs to be managed responsibly. Building in BNPL to the browser is akin predatory advertising for lending.
  • Chrome used to be great but they bloated it.
  • Not sure what exactly is bloated on Chrome though, considering they are actually have lesser features than Edge. But Chrome still somehow consume bit more system resources.
  • That loan thing was advertising and I find that unacceptable. However, the money-saving coupon feature is very welcome and awesome and I don't mind having that, but there should also be a prompt to inform the user that they can always disable it in the settings if need be.
  • I'm not a big fan of build-in stuff that should be just an optional extension. Eventhough you can turn it off, it shouldn't be in there to start. It's basically bloatware.
  • Having a feature that can be disabled is not bloatware if it's built in. That is excess programs that don't need to be installed. Maybe it shouldn't be enabled by defaul, but the problem with not starting it by default is that people won't know to turn it off and then Microsoft will cancel it.
  • No, it's still bloatware. Build in or not, it's software and it's bloating the install. Build in or not, has nothing to do with the definition of bloatware.
  • Eh, that's semantics. Though I do agree if it is increasing the size of the install greatly. Though, it is already pre-installed in windows so that shouldnt really matter. Although I don't think that this feature is doing that.
  • Yeah, for me personally it not necessarily about the size of the install per se, I just think that they should keep the browser lean. And there are other ways to promote or advertise or inform the people about certain plugins. Some may like it some won't. I'm in the 'I don't like it' camp.
  • I don't really disagree, but who gets to decide if it's a feature that will be deemed useful to enough people to be included (which makes it a feature), or if it's fringe (in which case it can be deemed bloat)? I would say that's entirely the purpose for testing it in the DEV channel. How else can they know? I understand people who don't want it and won't use it telling MS to remove it. That's fine. What I don't understand is the vitriol directed at MS for putting a feature into testing in the DEV channel. That's what it's for!
  • I agree. That vitriol is not necessary at all. But people who come here are passionate about their pc's and software, so that will happen. Personally, when the writers on this site ask me for my opinion, I always try to start with something like 'I think' or 'in my opinion' and still people want to have a discussion around if you're right or wrong. That's fine. We're passionate. :)
  • yep, it is bloatware, plenty of that in Windows, never mind the browser.
  • NO! Make it an extension if they want that.
    They were tracking along so well before this crap...
  • How dare you try to save me money!
  • Buy Now Pay Later isn't about saving money. It's about incurring interest fees. It's a form of credit and promotes debt.
  • Huh? It is coupon codes. I have never seen financing in it. ***Edit** I guess I should read the article, I thought this was talking about the shopping features that have been there.
  • Unlike most of those in the comments here, people who are not well-educated and upper-middle-class have trouble getting financing for even simple things -- even in rich countries, even if they're good for it. "Promotes debt" would be a good thing for them. Debt is one of the most basic functions of the economy and not some inherent evil.
  • @Andrew G1 I cannot believe you believe this is a good idea or that MS should be getting involved in it. What Nadella is doing with this and the shopping bloat is degrading the quality and class of not just Edge or Windows but MS themselves. Just my opinion of course but I have never seen MS act in such a cheap and low rent fashion and frankly, I'm appalled and completely disillusioned by the direction MS is heading in.
  • Actually most BNPL things are interest free. Usually spread out over a few months. Imagine 4 months. If you can't afford $100, but can afford $25 per month, cool. Now do that a couple more times and you quickly wind up with a $100/month bill you can't afford. That's the danger...for some.
  • I do like this feature, especially how it ties into Bing Rebates. It's about as good as the Rakuten plug in where I can tell if my cash back is being tracked.
  • The coupon feature is genuinely useful. This I disagree wit though because A: You shouldn't be coerced to one provider B: It promotes debt. C: It's also boat. Looks like the service they're using is in: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and the U.K
  • I don't really like it and hope they choose to leave it out. Having said that, the anti-MS posts (not so much here, but on other sites) because they put a feature into testing in the DEV channel that many people may like and find helpful is absurd. It's a good reminder that there are a lot of really nasty, self-righteous people on the Internet who can't see or don't care that others may have different preferences. This is an option. If MS choose to roll this out to production, I will disable it. It will have zero bearing on my use of the browser (or anyone else's who is complaining about this with threats of ditching Edge due to this horrible decision), other than the dev time required to support it over alternative features and a tiny amount of extra space on my drive (negligible, fraction of a fraction of a percentage point of total storage space, even on a small drive). If disabled, I don't believe it has any effect on RAM or CPU usage. MS has been doing great with Edge and feature development. They have added every feature I wanted, many of which were missing at launch, including features I now love, but never would have thought to request like Collections and Vertical Tabs. With the heavy lifting done, they're naturally getting into some less critical areas. That's to be expected. Have your opinion. Let MS know through the page they've provided for the very purpose of seeking feedback and input on this (https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/articles/introducing-buy-now-pay-...). But please, no tantrums.
  • "MS has been doing great with Edge and feature development. They have added every feature I wanted, many of which were missing at launch, including features I now love, but never would have thought to request like Collections and Vertical Tabs. " Definitely agree with that, with one exemption: dark mode in the PDF viewer! In any case, whiners gonna whine. It's December, and in Western countries people are already winding down from work and turning their attention to more important things, like bashing their least favorite companies on social media.
  • @Andrew G1 "In any case, whiners gonna whine. It's December, and in Western countries people are already winding down from work and turning their attention to more important things, like bashing their least favorite companies on social media" Hilarious! You're whining about people whining. Why do fanboys of all types cry like you are when people criticize their tribe?
    Oh boo hoo, haters gonna hate...they're picking on us. Just stop embarrassing yourself. Put up a cogent argument without the whining and the crocodile tears.
  • This is like the non-ironic version of everyone getting mad about those emojis. Does anyone actually know if having these features - even if they're turned off - slows down the browser? New Edge is the fastest thing I've ever used while having several extensions running. I used to keep an eye on how many extensions I had, but these days I don't.
  • I actually think this is even sillier and worse than the Emoji backlash. While the browser is a more important to more people's lives than emoji, at least for the emoji, I can see someone who interpreted the prior 3D MS promo pieces as a promise being annoyed that the released emojis are only 2D. For this, you have people (not here, but on other sites), screaming that MS is the worst company ever, they're never using Edge again, that this bloat ruins the browser, switching to Mac or Linux, etc. all for a feature in testing. If a company can't do a test to see if a feature is appealing without generating massive negative backlash that generates its own news, the result will be that they'll stop testing. So unlike the over-the-top emoji outcry, here's a case where the whiners can actually hurt all of us (in a small way) by reducing Insider access to pre-release features and opportunity to provide input. I suspect the most vocal critics are not typical Windows or Edge insiders, but shills for competing BNPL services or the same pro-Chrome or pro-Firefox anti-Edge critics who always come out of the woodwork to lob grenades at MS. For them, they think this is their best chance to "take Edge down."
  • Well I guess troll farms aren't anything new. I just think this type of entitled, petty hyperbole is par for the course in 2021.
  • Good point. Well summarized.
  • Stop all the gripping, the feature can actually save you money and is useful. To all the whiners, it can be turned off. No big deal. Learn to relax. 😄
  • Yeah. Head to The Register (uk site) their anti MS sentiment is embarrassing in the comments section.
  • This is not about saving money, it's should be about spending less
  • I'd prefer it be implemented as an extension. Yes, I can turn it off, which I did. Which also turned off the coupon thing, which I also didn't like. It consistently dropped down covering up functions I was needing to get to. It was just annoying.
    I do understand making it off by default, or making it an extension, would then require advertising to let people know it exists, and convince them to turn it on.
    Note this is not a MS BNPL function. It is a third party function that presumably paid MS to stick it in the browser. That precedent is concerning, and potentially 'anti-competative.' PayPal has a BNPL option as well. Why is that not built in, and does this harm PayPal by MS having this other one built in?
  • I wonder if a lot of the "outrage" is actually from shills for some of those other BNPL companies.
  • I dont mind the feature that gives you a coupon code to get a discount when shopping online. It has come to very good use for me at least.
  • It's Microsoft's browser, so they get to make it do what they want it to. If a number of people stop using it, then it's up to Microsoft to care about that or not. It's no different from when Mozilla removed all user-centric support from Firefox. Firefox market share dropped off a cliff, but Mozilla didn't care. Mozilla had the browser it wanted, and if people stopped using it... meh.
  • Do ppl not shop online? Are there not Amazon, honey, PayPal, capital one things available for modern browsers? Are they not allowed to have built in options available for tech they make? It's as if ppl are like, "stop trying to make tech happen and how dare you be a company that dares to make anything other than what we tell you to because we live in a capitalist nation by the ppl for the ppl!" Wtf is wrong with us... 🙄
  • Absolutely, it's saved me money many times.
  • I like them. I have the capital one extension and the Microsoft both which scan for coupon codes and have saved me tons of money so far. I've also used klarna a few times before it even came to edge. Nice to have it within easy access. Not sure what people are complaining about. You aren't forced to use it. Turn it off and it's like it was never there. For people that shop a lot especially during the holiday season I think this was a good idea and at the right time.
  • Seems like a waste of time and effort. Given that the vast majority of people using Windows and Edge are doing so at work, I seriously doubt that shopping features will see much use.