From last week, Microsoft has ended what many people consider the easiest way to search the internet; by blocking third party searches that go through Bing and the Cortana digital personal assistant.

The move was announced late last week in a blog post by the General Manager of Search and Cortana, Ryan Gavin, in a Microsoft Blog Post.

cortana

The reason? Well, according to Gavin it’s so that “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.”

The move has nothing to do with the fact that while Microsoft’s own Bing search engine accounts for under 5% of all global internet searches, Google searches have almost 90%, and is not a blatant attempt to railroad Cortana users into using the Bing based app and the Edge browser.  No, not at all.

According to Gavin, the use of Google via Cortana leads to a warped and compromised experience that offers a less reliable and predictable experience online for users.

“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.”

While the action from the Redmond based tech giant seemingly contradicts the principal philosophy of net neutrality and user choice, Microsoft are keeping good company. Both Apple and Google’s own voice search assistants lock users into their own proprietary search engines for results, so it’s probably not all that surprising that the company has followed suit.

Users will of course still be able to install other web browsers on their Windows based machines, and therefore use other search engines if they choose, just as they always have.

“Our promise to you is that Windows 10 will provide you with great search results and a personalized, reliable search experience through Cortana and Microsoft Edge. We will continue to work hard to provide you with the amazing experience you expect from Windows, while keeping you in control and helping you do great things.”