When you use Windows 10 in the US, Europe, and most of the world, the default search engine for the Microsoft Edge web browser is Bing. But when Chinese users open the Edge browser for the first time, they’ll be able to use Baidu to search.
Microsoft has announced a partnership with the Chinese software and internet company to not only set Baidu as the default search engine, but also for Baidu to offer a series of Universal Windows apps for search, maps, and video services.
While a lot of people change the default search provider moments after opening a browser, this is a pretty big deal for a few reasons.
First, many people don’t bother to change the default search engine, and one of Microsoft’s key tools for competing with rival Google is to set its own search tools as the default. Ceding this to Baidu in China may help take a little bit of market share away from Google, but it doesn’t do much to help Microsoft increase the number of folks using Bing.
On the other hand, Baidu is huge in China, with hundreds of millions of active users. Setting Baidu as the default service could help users feel comfortable with Windows 10 from day one… and Microsoft may have decided it’s more important to get people using Windows 10 than it is to get them using Bing.
In fact, in the Chinese version of the announcement, Microsoft points out that Windows 10 is a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users (which is true globally), and that the company has partnered with Baidu so that users that search for “Win10” and other related keywords will see links to a Baidu Upgrade Assistant that makes it easy to upgrade licensed copies of Windows 7 or later to Windows 10.