Mozilla and Vivaldi unhappy with Windows 11 default browser changes

Hot potato: Microsoft’s decision to make it easier to migrate from Edge to another browser in Windows 11 may have been welcomed by users, but rival browser companies say it’s not enough and should be made available to everyone, not just the more tech-savvy types.

One of the problems people had with the launch of Windows 11 was that Microsoft seems to be using their old tricks again when it comes to forcing people to use the default Edge browser. Installing a new browser and opening a link provided the only chance to fix that browser with a checkbox, but not having one meant manually changing the default way several Internet-related file types were opened, including .html, .htm, .mhtml, . pdf and protocols such as HTTP and HTTPS.

Microsoft was heavily criticized by consumers and web companies over this process, and it eventually brought back the usual one-click method of changing the default browser with an optional set of Windows 11 Cumulative Updates (KB5011563).

But that change doesn’t seem to have appeased competing browser makers. “This should apply to all users, not just those who are technically competent enough to understand that they need to install an additional update and know how to actually do it. This should be set for all users.” – Vivaldi boss John von Tetchner said Register.

“While they made an attempt, the fact that it was done the way it was leads to the suggestion that it is only being done to avoid being prosecuted for anti-competitive behavior and not actually addressing the underlying problem.”

Techner concluded with a vague threat: “They [Microsoft] keep trying to make it harder to switch to and use other browsers. We look forward to the EU addressing this malpractice.”

Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, was also unimpressed by the Redmond-based firm. “People should be able to set defaults simply and easily, and all operating systems should offer official developer support for the default status.”

“In practice, we would also like to see progress in reducing the number of steps required to set a new default browser, and in opening up and exposing APIs for applications to set the default that other Microsoft applications use.”

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Browser Market Share

Despite all the criticism that Microsoft has faced over Edge’s promotional tactics, it is currently the second most popular desktop browser after ousting Safari from second place with a 9.5% share last month. Research firm Statcounter has a Firefox share of 7.5%, while Vivaldi doesn’t have enough users to chart.

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