Issues surrounding browser choice within a Windows operating system have once again been raised, with critics accusing Microsoft of stifling user choice.
Following the announcement that Edge will be the default browser in Windows 10, Mozilla boss Chris Beard has sent an open letter to Satya Nadella detailing his frustrations. But just how difficult is it really for users to set their own browser preferences?
From one CEO to another, Mr Beard’s letter accuses Nadella of restricting customer choice and forcing a Microsoft-desired internet experience. However, Microsoft claims that it is merely trying to make the upgrade as simple as possible, and that Edge will provide users with a “cohesive experience”.
Twice as long to change preferences
“During the upgrade, consumers have the choice to set defaults, including for web browsing,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. So what is Mr Beard concerned about? Well, according to his letter, it will now take users “more than twice the number of mouse clicks” it previously took to change settings, resulting in users “scrolling through content and some technical sophistication”.
“These changes aren’t unsettling to us because we’re the organisation that makes Firefox,” Beard said. “They are unsettling because there are millions of users who love Windows and who are having their choices ignored… We strongly urge you to reconsider your business tactic here and again respect people’s right to choice and control of their online experience.”
Statistics would suggest that many Windows 10 users will indeed opt to set their own defaults. Mozilla Firefox is the second most used browser in the world, as of June 2015, accounting for 21.3 per cent of users, according to w3schools.com. This puts it ahead of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) (7.1 per cent) and Apple Safari (3.8 per cent). Google Chrome is by far the most popular, with a 64.8 per cent market share.
IE was set as the Windows default browser back in 2009 – a decision which resulted in the European Union accusing Microsoft of “abusing its dominance”, telegraph.co.uk notes. This led in 2010 to users being offered a choice of Chrome, Firefox and Safari when first booting up their Windows system – seemingly the same remedy that Mr Beard is now seeking.