Microsoft is dousing water on reports that it intends to build a native ad blocker into its Edge browser.
On the first day of MS Build 2016, which kicked off on March 30 in San Francisco, attendees noticed a curious line in a slide in one of Microsoft's presentations. ZDNet's Ed Bott snapped a picture of the slide, which appeared in a session titled "Microsoft Edge: What's Next for Microsoft's New Browser and Web Platform."
The slide, labeled "Organized around listening," offered an overview of some of the top requests Microsoft has been hearing about its Edge browser.
In fourth place on that list was a line that read: "Build ad blocking features into the browser." The entry was labeled as a "feedback request," but its status was "Targeted for next version deliverable 4682811."
While all of that seems like solid enough evidence to point to the delivery of a native ad blocker in the next version of Edge, Microsoft's Jacob Rossi, an Edge engineer, has asserted via a tweet that the company won't be doing so.
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
Despite the info on that slide, it would seem that Microsoft has more reason to stay out of the debate over pop-up ads than to insert itself in the middle of it by blocking marketing materials natively.
Supporting third-party ad blockers is one thing and blocking them natively is something else – something that could adversely affect some of its relationships with Microsoft's advertising partners.
The Bing search engine has only just started becoming profitable for Microsoft, bringing the company $1 billion in revenue during the first quarter of its 2016 fiscal year. Microsoft hadn't reported numbers on Bing since 2011, back when the search engine was bleeding at about $1 billion per quarter.
So while native ad blocking might help Microsoft's image with consumers, it could be really bad for business. It's harder to sell ads when pushing tools to block them.