Microsoft (Kind of) Confirms Booting Google From Windows 10 S for Good

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May 10, 2017
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“Windows 10 S will run any browser in the Windows Store,” Microsoft’s Windows chief Terry Myerson promised the audience at the launch of Windows 10 S. Apparently not. Reports earlier this morning hinted that Microsoft may never allow any browsers on Windows Store. While we had previously believed that Windows 10 S users won’t be able to change their default browser from Microsoft Edge, it appeared that they won’t even be able to use any other browser.

We reached out to Microsoft for a comment on these stories and the company (almost) confirmed these reports. Here’s what a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an email to Wccftech:

surface-laptop-3RelatedMicrosoft Kind of Admits Windows 10 S Isn’t Good Enough (Yet) – Extends Free Windows 10 Pro Offer

Windows Store apps that browse the web must use HTML and JavaScript engines provided by the Windows Platform. All Windows Store content is certified by Microsoft to help ensure a quality experience and keep your devices safer. With this policy, instated early this year, the browser a customer chooses in the Store will ensure the protections and safeguards of our Windows platform. If people would like to access apps from other stores and services, they can switch to Windows 10 Pro at any time.

At first look, it appears that Microsoft will accept browsers that are packaged using the Project Centennial aka Desktop Bridge on Windows Store. However, the company’s focus on Windows 10 Pro in the above statement hinted that the first line of this statement may not be the end of the story.

Hoping to get Chrome for Windows 10 S? Probably will have to pay $49 extra…

It’s not just Google that Microsoft is preemptively booting out of its store. Folks at ZDNet reported that a developer “converted his Chromium-based desktop browser to an Appx package and submitted it to Microsoft in February,” which was then rejected. He had received the following explanation from Microsoft for this rejection:

Desktop Browsers installed from the Store aren’t more secured by default. They are secure only if, like Edge, they’re true UWP apps, so they run in a sandbox environment and they don’t have access to the overall system. Converted apps, instead, have some components which are virtualized (like the registry or file system redirection) but, except for that, they have the “runFullTrust” capability, so [they] can go out from the sandbox and perform operations that can be malicious.

So, there it is. Even if Google, Mozilla or others convert their browsers to a package that can be delivered through the Windows Store, they will still probably be rejected.

Now before hating Microsoft, it should be noted that Windows 10 S has been released in response to Google’s Chrome OS, which also doesn’t allow any other browsers. However, unlike Google’s Chrome browser (which is used by over half of all Windows users), Microsoft Edge remains to become a mainstream browsing choice. With cheaper Windows 10 S devices launching this summer, consumers now face two choices: try to get along with Microsoft Edge or pay $49 extra to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

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