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Microsoft

Microsoft Backs Down On Making IE8 Default At Upgrade 160

Posted by timothy
from the you-call-that-backing-down-huh dept.
Barence writes "Internet Explorer 8 will no longer replace the default browser when a user selects the 'Use express settings' option during installation. Back in May, Mozilla and Opera accused Microsoft of force-feeding users Internet Explorer 8 through the Automatic Updates process. The object of their ire was the 'Use express settings' option which automatically sets Internet Explorer 8 as the default browser. The option was already ticked when Automatic Updates offered users the choice to upgrade their browser. 'We heard a lot of feedback from a lot of different people and groups and decided to make the user choice of the default browser even more explicit,' notes Microsoft in a blog post."
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Microsoft Backs Down On Making IE8 Default At Upgrade

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  • Re:Browsers War (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IBBoard (1128019) on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:52AM (#28755117) Homepage

    And then you just leave yourself with outdated and potentially bug-riddled software still installed on your machine. The better option would be to remove IE completely if you don't use it, but that's obviously not possible ;)

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rennt (582550) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:07AM (#28755237)

    Surely the problem was that the update changed the default browser, not that it upgraded the non-default one.

    Usually Microsoft's actions are fairly transparent, but I really can't understand what they are trying to achieve with this policy

  • Not Uncommon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:17AM (#28755305)
    Good, I hate when installers and update utilities hide crap like that behind "express" or default settings. It's by no means a Microsoft-only trick though, the one I find most annoying is AIM's attempt to install all sorts of toolbar crap hidden behind a default checkbox so you have to uncheck two levels of things to stop it. Even Mozilla does this to some extent to set itself as default, the only difference is anyone who's installed Mozilla probably actually WANTS it to be default, whereas with IE you'll have it rather you want it or not.
  • Re:What crap... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xouumalperxe (815707) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:18AM (#28755317)

    However, since MS pushed IE8 as a critical update through their automatic update service the user doesn't really have much choice

    It's slightly more subtle than that. A forced upgrade from IE7 to IE8 doesn't seem much of an issue to me. It defaulting to changing itself to being the default browser doesn't rattle me too much either (though it does annoy me). What really gets to me is the fact that such a huge change in user preferences is "hidden" behind a "use express settings" tick box.

  • by lordandmaker (960504) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:30AM (#28755417) Homepage

    What I'm asking is this: What makes it a monopoly? I guess Microsoft is the biggest OS retailer on computers, but what's a computer?

    Biggest OS retailer on PCs. Ignoring the notion that a mac isn't a PC (are modern 'PCs' any closer to an IBM PC than a wintel mac?), MS do have the vast bulk of the market on desktop and laptop personal computers.
    This is where they have a monopoly. The issue, in general, though, is less that they have the monopoly than that they abuse the fact they have one.

    But what about MP3 players? I confess I do not know the figures for sure, but when I walk down the street it seems 90% of portable music players are iPods.

    In my experience it's far closer to 50%. But, again, I've no idea of the true figures.

  • Re:What crap... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lordandmaker (960504) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:33AM (#28755443) Homepage

    Well, laziness comes with a price. I guess you're paying it.

    Isn't half the point of a computer that you don't need to pay such a price for being lazy?

  • by i_ate_god (899684) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:37AM (#28755467) Homepage

    ...if it helps continue the death of IE6

  • Re:What crap... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Useful Wheat (1488675) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:59AM (#28755707)

    "The reason why it's acceptable that Firefox, Opera etc does this is because the user chose to download the browser."

    You're using a double standard here. I downloaded Google Chrome so I could go and try it out. Give it the benefit of the doubt, and so forth. I didn't need it to be my default browser any more than I needed Opera to be my default browser when I decided to try it out.

    Certainly its easy to fix this. Most of the browsers will demand to be set as the default browser when you open them, but this is a conversation for the new and inexperienced users who don't know how to change that. If they did download Chrome (because Google is pushing chrome aggressively on every page) having it be the default browser could be a huge learning curve.

    Now, I'm all for making users learn something, but eventually they end up calling you on the phone and demand you make it work right.

  • Re:What crap... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:01AM (#28755729) Homepage

    IMO, the reason why it's unacceptable is because this is a freaking upgrade. The preference is already set to whichever browser the user favors, why should it be reset ? The existing choice should be left alone.

    If it's a fresh installation, fine go ahead and toggle it by default, that's a good way to minimize user confusion ("I just installed Thingy 8, where the hell is it?"). If it's an upgrade, just replace those damned files and leave my settings the way they are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:04AM (#28755759)
    The problem with not upgrading is that something else may use the browser, and an old Microsoft browser will be buggy, probably.

    Google: Don't do evil.
    Microsoft: Evil for profit.

    Google: It's finished, but we call it beta.
    Microsoft: It's beta, but we call it finished. (All of our customers are part of our beta test team.)

    "Internet Explorer 8 will no longer replace the default browser when a user selects the 'Use express settings' option during installation. ... 'We heard a lot of feedback from a lot of different people and groups and decided to make the user choice of the default browser even more explicit,' notes Microsoft in a blog post."

    Translation: "We do as much evil as we can. But we are afraid of another anti-trust investigation [amazon.com]."

    All my opinion, but I'm not the only one.
  • Too Late... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by NoName Studios (917186) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:31AM (#28756083) Homepage
    Too late because it is already been five months later. How many more users were stolen from other browsers by this tactic?
  • People like you are the reason we have botnets.
  • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:56AM (#28756349)

    You're opening yourself up to vulnerabilities in the browser control used by various programs like Winamp, RealPlayer etc. What's so bad about keeping IE up to date while you use your favorite browser? I bet millions of geeks do that with no problem.

  • by noundi (1044080) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:01AM (#28756409)
    Mostly I agree with your post. I'd probably change the word evil for something with more substance. Also google works for profit as well. Anyway whatever one might think I'd say there's little doubt about one part of your post:

    But we are afraid of another anti-trust investigation.

    Perhaps I'm paranoid, perhaps I'm a fanboy, perhaps I love spreading FUD, or perhaps I've never heard anything from Microsoft that ever even remotely sounded like this:

    We heard a lot of feedback from a lot of different people and groups and decided to make the user choice of the default browser even more explicit

    Something just doesn't sound right, and I doubt I'm the only one feeling that.

  • Re:What crap... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bheer (633842) <rbheer@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:28AM (#28756699)

    Ironically the media player wars were exactly about this. Real would become the default player for all sorts of formats, then Quicktime would, and so on. Someone must have learnt their lesson, because these days Real and Windows Media Player play nice, not too sure what Quicktime does (not installed it in some time).

    If the media player vendors can learn, why not the browser? And yes, I don't buy the argument that anyone downloading Firefox is looking to make it his default browser. I download Opera and Chrome onto new PCs too, I'd be pissed if I couldn't stop them from becoming my default.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday July 20, 2009 @11:09AM (#28757185)

    I guess Microsoft is the biggest OS retailer on computers, but what's a computer? Surely to count that we have to exclude 'computers' like Xboxes, PS3s, Wiis, and other such computers which run with different hardware and things?

    Remember "monopoly" does not mean "highest marketshare." per se. From dictionary.com:

    1) exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices.

    MS has a monopoly (as determined by a US court) on OS for Intel X86 computers (PCs). The commodity is PCs. In this case, MS has control over the OS that runs on most PCs which are made by others. Apple only has control over the products that they created which isn't a monopoly.

    I guess Microsoft is the biggest OS retailer on computers, but what's a computer? Surely to count that we have to exclude 'computers' like Xboxes, PS3s, Wiis, and other such computers which run with different hardware and things? If we did not fudge it this way then Microsoft would not have a monopoly.

    It's not a fudge. The term "PC" means a very specific thing. PC does not mean anything with a computer in it. In the case of MS, they have a number of different businesses. They have a monopoly in OS for PCs not in their consumer products division.

    But then why can we not consider Apple computers separately? Apple computers have a different sort of architecture to normal PCs - it's a huge effort to install windows on them without bootcamp for example - so surely Apple have a monopoly on Apple computers, and their pushing of Safari is a bit unethical?

    This is not sound logic. A company can have a monopoly in their product. That's perfectly legal. Would you charge Dell with a monopoly on Inspiron PCs? It's their product.

    But what about MP3 players? I confess I do not know the figures for sure, but when I walk down the street it seems 90% of portable music players are iPods. To use an iPod you realistically HAVE to use iTunes, they are pushing this piece of software through their hardware. And then with THAT they push Safari etc. too.

    How are Apple not abusing monopoly laws with iPods? I don't understand.

    Certainly Apple has the largest marketshare but one does Apple have exclusive control of the MP3 player market? Is it the only player? Do realistic alternatives exist? Are the barriers to market entry sufficiently high enough to prevent competition? One visit to BestBuy and you can see that there exists many different direct competitors to iPods. Also remember, Apple iPods play MP3s and AACs which can be played on any other player. Their DRM'ed Fairplay files from iTunes cannot be played; however, Apple gives customers the option to decide between DRM and non-DRM when purchasing music from iTunes. On the other hand, how many alternatives can you get for your OS at BestBuy if you buy a desktop? If you don't buy Apple, you only get Windows.

  • Re:What crap... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Onymous Coward (97719) on Monday July 20, 2009 @01:20PM (#28759421) Homepage

    When you installed Firefox, you specifically sought out the installer, downloaded it and ran it. It's quite a reasonable assumption there that you'd like to use it as your default browser.

    I disagree. A browser installation or upgrade should always ask whether you want your default browser changed.

    I would expect Mozilla also to agree with this, so I doubt that other poster's claim that FF3.5 presumes to make itself the default browser [slashdot.org] and would like to see that claim substantiated.

  • Re:What crap... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Onymous Coward (97719) on Monday July 20, 2009 @01:33PM (#28759667) Homepage

    Here's a logical fallacy for you:

    Puppy Mike is ornery, always causing problems. Puppy Moe is adorable, does many cute things and is very agreeable.

    Ornery puppy Mike shits on your carpet. "Bad puppy!"

    Adorable puppy Moe — whoops! — also shits on your carpet.

    You look back and forth between them, scratch your head, and declare, "You gotta stop bashing EVERYTHING puppy Mike does!"

    As if you wanted crap on your carpet at all?

    But given Moe's past performance, I'd be surprised if there were in fact crap on your carpet. So maybe you should post a story about it, as recommended [slashdot.org].

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