Microsoft Edge represents the future of web browsing on Windows, and it's a future that apparently makes ad blocking easy — for third-party tools, at least. A workshop at Microsoft's Build conference this week titled "What's Next for Microsoft's New Browser" included a slide suggesting that built-in ad blocking could be coming to Edge. The slide was spotted by ZDNet, and such a move would follow a clear trend in the tech world of making ad blocking easier. But later on Thursday, Microsoft's Jacob Rossi denied that the company's web browser will soon come with its own ad blocker. Rather, Rossi reiterated that Edge will offer full support for third-party options like AdBlock.
We are not building a native ad blocker within MS Edge, but we will support third party ad blockers like AdBlock and AdBlock Plus— Jacob Rossi (@jacobrossi) March 31, 2016
Consumers love ad blocking, publishers not so much
Previously, ad blocking was mainly the domain of the tech-savvy, with those in the know installing browser extensions to block ads. Last year, though, Apple introduced the concept to a wider audience by allowing ad blocking on its mobile Safari browser through third-party extensions. Then this January, Mozilla's co-founder introduced a browser named Brave with built-in ad blocking, and in March, Opera unveiled native ad blocking for the developer edition of its browser, promising it would mean websites loading "up to 90 percent faster."
This promise of faster web browsing, as well as less data consumption and a smaller chance of getting a virus, are the reasons why ad blocking is popular. But as many people have pointed out, it's also bad news for websites, which stand to lose a lot of revenue. It seems, though, that the debate over the future of web publishing will have to be conducted quickly. Native ad blocking is currently only available to a small portion of web users, but if Microsoft has decided to include the feature in Edge, it clearly shows where the industry is heading.
Update 3/31 12:15PM ET: After this story was published, a Microsoft employee tweeted to refute the rumor of a built-in ad blocker coming to the Edge browser. The article has been updated accordingly.
Verge Video: Microsoft Windows 10 review