In a recent blog post, Microsoft announced that it is no longer possible to make Cortana work with any search engine other than Bing, or any browser other than Edge.
This announcement confirms two things: first, even Microsoft considers Cortana’s main function to be a voice interface for web searching. Second, despite its claims, Microsoft cares more about selling eyeballs to advertisers than giving users options.
To be fair, advertising is the business model of the web. Should we criticize Microsoft for trying to emulate Google? Yes. Yes we should. We (grudgingly) accept web advertising, because the vast majority of what we consume on the web is otherwise free.
On the other hand, stuffing ads into an operating system I paid for is not acceptable. Why not offer a free version of Windows that includes ads? One could argue that this is what Microsoft did, in offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade. But if that’s the case, where’s the paid version that doesn’t include ads?