Microsoft May Bundle Ad Blocking Into Its Edge Browser by This Summer (UPDATE: No, It Won't)

At Least 200 Million Devices Have Edge Browser Installed, Microsoft Says

By Published on .

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CORRECTION: Based on the language in a slide representing Microsoft's development roadmap for Edge ("Build ad blocking features into the browser"), this article suggests Microsoft is planning to incorporate ad blocking capabilities directly into its Edge browser this summer. After publication, a spokeswoman said the slide referred only to coming support for extensions such as ad blockers. "What you are seeing is a reference to the work we're already doing in bringing extensions to Microsoft Edge," the spokeswoman said. "We are not building a native ad blocker with MS Edge."
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Microsoft's Edge browser may soon come with ad blocking technology preinstalled.

That's according to a report on ZDNet, where contributor Ed Bott spotted ad blocking features on Microsoft's development roadmap for Edge during a session at the company's Build conference in San Francisco on Wednesday:

Extensions are number 1 on that list, with the feature listed as "targeted for next edition," meaning the summer 2016 Anniversary Update (code-named Redstone).

But item 4 on that list, "Build ad blocking features into the browser," is also being targeted for the next edition.

Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment.

Building ad blocking into the browser as a standard feature rather than requiring consumers to find and install a plug-in would presumably hasten the spread of the tech, which is making publishers nervous about the audiences they can deliver to advertisers. The smaller browsers Opera and Brave are already incorporating ad blocking options.

More than 200 million devices have Windows 10 installed, and every version of the operating system includes the Edge browser.

If Microsoft delivers on item 4 of the roadmap desribed above, the trajectory of ad blocking could follow the arc of pop-up blockers years ago. After a period when users had to download a separate extension to ward off the annoying ads, web browsers began shipping with pop-up blocking built in. By 2008, all major web browsers had the software pre-installed.

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