Microsoft to change default browser setting option in IE 8

Summary:In another move which may or may not be part of its ongoing attempts to appease European antitrust authorities, Microsoft is changing the way Internet Explorer (IE) 8 will prompt users about making IE their default browser.

In another move which may or may not be part of its ongoing attempts to appease European antitrust authorities, Microsoft is changing the way Internet Explorer (IE) 8 will prompt users about making IE their default browser.

According to a July 16 post to the Internet Explorer blog, Microsoft is changing the way IE 8 prompts users during browser installation. The change will take effect in mid-August and will only be pertinent to users for whom IE is not set as their default browser. From that post:

"IE will never install, or become the default browser without your explicit consent. However, 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. This change is part of our ongoing commitment to user choice and control."

Microsoft didn't make it clear that using the "Express Settings" default during installation automatically reset the browser default to IE 8. Users had to know enough to "choose custom settings" if they didn't want IE 8 made automatically their default browser. Microsoft's handling of the IE default setting raised the ire of some of its competitors.

Microsoft is planning to use dynamic updates to get this change in the hands of users more quickly, rather than to re-release IE 8. The change will apply not only to IE 8 with Vista and XP, but also when users "with a non-IE default browser" install Windows 7, according to the post. Microsoft also plans to make this installation-default change available in the next cumulative security update for IE, officials said.

I wonder if Microsoft made this change as part of its alleged settlement talks with the European Commission, which still has yet to release its final ruling in the Opera-Microsoft browser-bundling antitrust case.

As noted on News.com, Mozilla Chief Executive John Lily praised the change. Wonder if it will make other Microsoft rivals happy enough not to throw more gasoline on the IE fire in Europe....

Topics: Browser, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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