Report: Microsoft will build ad blocking into a future version of Microsoft Edge

Begun, the ad wars have.

Edge with add ons6

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Editor's Note: Microsoft said Thursday that Bott's report was incorrect, in that the browser will not support native ad blocking. Ad blocking will be possible through third-party plugins.

Microsoft is working to build ad blocking into the “next” version of Microsoft Edge, according to a report.

Ed Bott, who sat in at a Microsoft Edge session at Microsoft’s Build conference here in San Francisco, snapped a photo of a slide presented by Microsoft executives. “Build ad blocking features into the browser” is “targeted for the next version” of the browser, version 4682811. 

When and if it arrives, ad blocking inside Microsoft Edge would make it the second major browser to natively kill ads; Opera is testing a developer version of its browser that does the same thing. Other browsers have flirted with native ad blocking, including Samsung’s native Web browser for Android. Most of the remainder, including Apple’s Safari and Google Chrome, enable ad blocking through the use of plugins, which companies like Opera say is less effective than blocking them natively.

Microsoft didn’t say exactly when the new versions of Edge will debut with ad blocking built in. Microsoft has said previously that it has begun seeding the Edge browser, with just a few supported extensions, to its Insider group of beta testers.

It’s unclear whether or not the Edge ad-blocking software will include whitelisting, or approving certain sites to display ads. Likewise, it’s not quite clear how deep Microsoft will go to block ads from being displayed, including explicit banner ads but also more subtle uses of ad technology like tracking pixels.

Microsoft representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Why this matters: Whether or not Edge does include ad blocking, however, it appears that the Web has changed. Sites that display ads may find those ads blocked; those sites may, in return, refuse to serve their content to those that do. And so on, and so on.

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