Mozilla CEO writes to Satya Nadella as Windows 10 edges out other browsers

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Mozilla CEO Sends Angry Open Letter To Microsoft Over Changing Windows 10 Browser Defaults.

If you have been lucky enough to upgrade to Windows 10, then the chances are you noticed the Edge browser has become you default on the shiny new operating system.

Microsoft is rolling Windows 10 out in phases, but the company just announced that over 14 million devices are all running its latest operating system.Mozilla CEO Chris Beard has blasted Microsoft in a pair of posts to the organization’s blog, arguing that Windows 10’s default browser settings are a “dramatic step backwards” for respecting user choice. In a blog post, Windows marketing head Yusuf Mehdi says that Microsoft has “many more upgrades to go” before everyone with a reservation gets their copy through. Microsoft likes Windows 10 so much, it makes Edge the default browser in Windows 10, even when you’re updating from a system that previously used Chrome or Firefox as the default. When people update their devices to Microsoft’s new operating system, their default browsers are automatically changed to Microsoft Edge, the successor to Internet Explorer that’s included with Windows 10.

Beard has a point, especially since a small tweak like this could wipe out Mozilla Firefox from a lot of systems. “We appreciate that it’s still technically possible to preserve people’s previous settings and defaults, but the design of the whole upgrade experience and the default settings APIs have been changed to make this less obvious and more difficult. In an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Beard said that’s no good, since doing so from Firefox requires three or four mouse clicks (roughly twice as many as before) and scrolling to the bottom of a seven-item list. It now takes more than twice the number of mouse clicks, scrolling through content and some technical sophistication for people to reassert the choices they had previously made in earlier versions of Windows. Mozilla’s argument that this is more complex is fair as there are more steps to take to actually change your default browser and it will likely generate confusion among some consumers. Windows 10 is the first major version of Windows to be made free for most consumers, so Microsoft can expect a faster upgrade pace than usual — especially considering how much of an improvement 10 is on 8.

The new browser is one of the marquee features of Windows 10, and it makes sense that Microsoft would try to get it in front of as many people as possible—even if that means ignoring their previously expressed preferences. The upgrade doesn’t uninstall competing browsers, and those that check to make sure they’re set as users’ defaults (like Firefox and Chrome) will prompt people who open them after upgrading to move away from Edge. Beard, who calls this an “aggressive move,” urges Microsoft to change its business tactics. “These changes aren’t unsettling to us because we’re the organization that makes Firefox,” he writes. “They are unsettling because there are millions of users who love Windows and who are having their choices ignored, and the increased complexity put into everyone’s way if and when they choose to make a choice different than what Microsoft prefers.” Mozilla, though, it’s worth noting, also had a few issues lately.

Mozilla announced they are rolling out support materials and a tutorial video to help guide everyone through the process of preserving their choices on Windows 10. “Mozilla exists to bring choice, control and opportunity to everyone. When we asked Microsoft for a comment, we received the following from a company spokesperson: “We designed Windows 10 to provide a simple upgrade experience for users and a cohesive experience following the upgrade. Still, the change of defaults could cut down on the use of Mozilla’s browser, since it could cause some people to abandon Firefox because it’s no longer the default experience on their computers.

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