Google Chrome banned from Windows 10 S

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Users will be unable to change the default browser and search engine on Windows 10 S

At first, the problem does not seem big because advanced browsers are not available in the Windows Store anyway.

Microsoft recently unveiled Windows 10 S and straight away it seems limited to the apps published in the Windows Store. The company has also confirmed that users won’t be able to change the default browser and search engine, meaning they’ll be stuck with Microsoft Edge and Bing on their devices.

At first, the problem does not seem big because advanced browsers are not available in the Windows Store anyway, with the likes of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox not launching dedicated apps for Windows 10 until now. And yet, it appears that even if Google wants to launch a universal version (UWP) of Google Chrome for Windows, it still wouldn’t be available for users.

According to a report from ZDNet, the information points to special requirements for Windows Store apps that applies exclusively to browsers and to which a ported version of Google Chrome would be unable to comply with.

“Your app must not jeopardize or compromise user security, or the security or functionality of the device, system or related systems. Apps that browse the web must use the appropriate HTML and JavaScript engines provided by the Windows Platform,” the Windows Store guidelines read.

Microsoft is now offering developers a set of tools codenamed Project Islandwood which makes it possible the porting of Win32 software to UWP apps.

This means if Google wanted to bring the desktop version of Chrome in the Windows Store, Project Islandwood was the way to go, but according to these requirements, the search company would have to build the browser from scratch using Microsoft’s own rendering engine and JavaScript interpreters.

Microsoft has stated security reasons for these limitations. Microsoft’s company spokesperson has explained Edge runs in a sandbox environment and thus protects users against potential malware and exploits. The other browsers need to do the same thing as well, so they’d have to be developed from scratch using Microsoft’s own technology.

“Desktop Browsers installed from the Store aren't more secured by default. They are secure only if, like Edge, they're true UWP apps, so they run in a sandbox environment and they don't have access to the overall system. Converted apps, instead, have some components which are virtualized (like the registry or file system redirection) but, except for that, they have the ‘runFullTrust’ capability, so [they] can go out from the sandbox and perform operations that can be malicious,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

However, on the contrary, even if Microsoft doesn’t allow a UWP version of Chrome, this is not a substantial matter of concern for Google as they weren’t interested in that in the first place.