Mozilla blasts Microsoft over Windows 10 program preferences

Mozilla blasts Microsoft over Windows 10 program preferences

Mozilla isn’t happy with the changes made to the way users choose their default web browser in Windows 10 and has fired off a very direct blog post criticizing Microsoft of taking away user choice and even intentionally making the process of using another browser, like Mozilla’s Firefox, over Microsoft’s new Edge browser more difficult.

Mozilla CEO, Chris Beard says in the blog post that “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. It’s confusing, hard to navigate and easy to get lost.”

The company created a special YouTube video which walks users through the process of changing a default web browser in Windows 10 and to be honest, it actually appears to be quite simple and transparent. All a user has to do is open the Firefox browser, click on the option to make it their default browser that immediately pops up and then confirm their selection.

The real issue seems to be that a user’s program preferences are reset during the upgrade to Windows 10 so if Firefox was the chosen default before, the computer would begin using Edge after the change to Windows 10.

“These changes aren’t unsettling to us because we’re the organization that makes Firefox.” Chris Beard claims in his letter. ”They are unsettling because there are millions of users who love Windows and who are having their choices ignored, and because of the increased complexity put into everyone’s way if and when they choose to make a choice different than what Microsoft prefers. We strongly urge you to reconsider your business tactic here and again respect people’s right to choice and control of their online experience by making it easier, more obvious and intuitive for people to maintain the choices they have already made through the upgrade experience. It should be easier for people to assert new choices and preferences, not just for other Microsoft products, through the default settings APIs and user interfaces.”

It’s a complex issue, and one that many will have different opinions about. On one hand the removal of previous preferences can be an annoyance but whenever an upgrade to a new operating system is performed it’s usually expected that at least an hour or so will be needed afterwards for customizing it to get it to look and feel the way one wants. Adjusting program preferences, and indeed other settings, after a major upgrade isn’t that unusual at all.

There’s also the fact that Microsoft’s new Edge browser has been specifically designed for the Windows 10 operating system and features several new features that work with other Windows 10 applications. It makes sense that Microsoft would want to make it easier to access, especially after featuring it so heavily in the Windows 10 marketing campaigns. And it’s not like Microsoft has banned other browsers and deleted previously installed programs from devices. As explained above, all a user has to do is open Firefox once after installing Windows 10 and choose to make it the default again. There’s also the fact that Mozilla hasn’t actually released their Windows 10-optimized version of Firefox yet.

Let us know what you think. Have you upgraded to Windows 10 and found it hard to use Firefox or other browsers like Chrome? Do you think Mozilla is justified in their complaint and Microsoft overstepped? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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