Microsoft: No baked-in ad blocker for you!

Company rebuts report that said Edge would get an integrated ad blocker

Microsoft does not plan on baking an online ad blocker into its Edge browser, a company engineer said today, rebutting a piece published Wednesday that got wide follow-on coverage.

"We are not building a native ad blocker within [Microsoft Edge], but we will support third-party ad blockers like AdBlock and AdBlock Plus," tweeted Jacob Rossi, an engineer on the browser team, earlier today.

Rossi and another Microsoft developer, Kyle Pflug, who also tweeted comments about the purported in-Edge-ad-blocker, were responding to a post on ZDNet that cited a slide in a session held Wednesday at Build, Microsoft's annual developer conference.

"'Build ad blocking features into the browser,' is also being targeted for the next edition," wrote Ed Bott about a slide used in the session "Microsoft Edge: What's Next for Microsoft's New Browser and Web Platform."

Rossi and Pflug said that the slide was misinterpreted. It actually referred to feedback requests from Windows Insiders -- the beta testers who run the most problematic builds of the new OS and its integrated browser -- that was being addressed by supporting third-party extensions, they said.

Earlier this month, Microsoft finally released a version of Edge that supports add-ons, making good on a pledge from May 2015. Microsoft has made available just three extensions, but has promised more will come, including some from outside vendors and developers. Among the latter: AdBlock and Adblock Plus, two of the most popular browser add-ons that block most forms of online advertisements that websites display to users.

That's still the plan.

Some browsers have gone so far as to bake in ad-blocking technologies, but most do not, instead relying on outsiders to craft extensions and take any heat from publishers whose revenue relies on advertising (as does Computerworld).

Of the top five browsers, Opera Software is the exception: Three weeks ago, Opera announced that it had built ad-blocking into a developer preview of its flagship browser. In an interview with Computerworld, Krystian Kolondra, Opera's head of engineering, explained that the ad-blocking move was primarily based on a belief that by stripping out ads, sites would render significantly faster.

"It's quite obvious that users care about speed," Kolondra said as he defended the integrated ad blocker. "We should start talking about this. The [ad] industry should be making sure that ads are not ruining the user experience."

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
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