Wasn't the ability for other browsers to set themselves as the default browser part of the DoJ settlement? So now Microsoft is deciding that doesn't apply?
Sorry, but Microsoft has gone well into the "we can do anything we want to your computer, any time we want, and unless you have an enterprise license you can't stop us".
That is complete bullshit. If they're going to assert ownership of my computer, they can help me pay for it. Until they do, it's my computer.
Here's the problem - Firefox/Chrome/etc ask you if you want them to be the default browser. The ability for the program to set the preference is the problem.
If you don't see the problem, let me rephrase it. I create SuperWebBrowser. I think it's so super, I will make it the default browser on everyone's machine. So I do that. Why should I ask the user? It's so super they'll want it.
If you still don't get it, then how about, I create WebBrowserSpy and set it as default. It launches an instance of your normal web browser but hooked so it can spy at your traffic and even get at HTTPS data after it's been decrypted.
Just because the good guys ask, doesn't mean everyone else has to. In fact, if you're particularly nasty, if that setting is changed, you can always reset it back.
And you'll be surprised, but both scenarios are common - many management types can't understand that people might just want to use your software as necessary, and they don't need or want it to be the default shell, the default web browser, to pin itself to the task bar and start menu and all sorts of other things. After all, after buying a copy of SuperApplication, why wouldn't you want it in your face everywhere you look? I mean, it's a great application.
It's why Microsoft doesn't provide APIs to pin applications to the task bar, start menu and a few other things. Heck, I'm surprised no installer decides to go change your desktop wallpaper on you after you install an app. After all, it's super, and you'll not want to live without it...