Microsoft to change default browser setting option in IE 8

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.

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TOPICS: Browser, Microsoft
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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 has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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26 comments
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  • I hope FireFox follows suit

    After installing FireFox 3.5, not only did it hijack the default browser setting - but even after setting it back, it's STILL the browser being selected when clicking on a link in Trillian.

    The ONLY reason I have it on my computer is because a recent change to Gizmodo/Gawker's comments system made it almost unusable in IE8 - and as soon as they have that fixed, FireFox comes off my system.
    TheWerewolf
    • Don't hold your breath. "Fairness" only applies...

      to whom the EU/EC singles out that it should apply to. <br>
      What a perversion of justice being performed yet again by the socialist monopoly of law in the EU.
      <br>
      ]:)
      xuniL_z
      • Fat and disempowered ...

        ... all in the name of aimless greed and control?

        Enjoy being blindly but voluntarily controlled by lying corporations with no morals and no aim except for themselves.

        Europe should swap all of it's mouse wielding monkeys for the USA's FOSS people, then we can just ignore you as you slowly but surely evolve into one large lump of wobbly jelly attached permanently to Bill Gates' next "bet the company" automatic feeding tubes....
        fr0thy2
  • re: ....

    <font color=#808080><em>"<font color=#000000>The ONLY reason I have it</font> on my computer is because a recent change to Gizmodo/Gawker's comments system made it almost unusable in IE8.."</em></font>

    Some times you have to use what works.

    ^o^
    <br>
    n0neXn0ne
  • Lets Face it

    As of this day and time, We NEED Internet Explorer.
    Making websites render with IE are most website owners first priority.
    And, There is simply some websites that will not work with nothing but IE.
    Myself, I have no complaints about IE8. Its super fast, awesome new features and I feel safe with it.
    Much like VISTA, the name IE is tainted os by default most people write it off as suckage.

    I really recommend everyone I help with tech issues NOT to disable IE in windows 7. Eventually you WILL need it for something.

    ...Opera 10, Im waiting on you baby, come on! I am an opera fanatic.
    EricHilton1987
    • No, we really don't.

      Speaking as someone whose machine runs Linux and does not own IE in the first place, I can honestly say that you do [i]not[/i] need it. (South Korea notwithstanding...)

      A lot has changed since 1998.
      Zogg
      • Yes you really do unless

        you only use your PC for home use. Some of the Firefox security features are really excuses for lack of functionality.

        After you get your panty hose all bunched up we can start listing the things you can't do with Firefox.
        ICUR12
        • Sure, like imploding with ActiveX...

          ...and other assorted M$ security issues....
          Wintel BSOD
          • However...

            not that long ago, M$ decided to share that "feature" without disclosing it to the already installed FF users when they released a .NET patch with an "assistant" for FF which, not only gave it the ability to run code w/o informing you the user by default, you can't uninstall it. M$'s answer is to give a "disable" on a per user basis (no uninstall option yet.)

            Reference: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/security/?p=1716
            DaemonSlayer
          • OR

            you could, you know, not install .net if you don't need it (and very few people actually do)

            "The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed."
            gnesterenko
    • "We NEED Internet Explorer"?

      Microsoft needs Internet Explorer.

      For everybody else, well, it has cost billions and billions in wasted man hours.

      There will always be companies that have a web presence that only works in IE for as long as there are mouse wielding monkeys masquerading as web developers.

      If companies wish to be that naive, let them. Let them waste precious money and time, let them believe MS's bullsiht yet again. Their problem, no-one elses.
      fr0thy2
      • Billions? Someone has an agenda

        Billions? Really? Billions of dollars wasted? Let me guess, you think Firefox and Opera are saints of standards and ease of use.

        Anything below IE7 was a nightmare, yes. But IE served as a standard browser that forced Firefox, Netscape, and Opera to add features that got them where they are. If IE didn't exist, do you really think any of the other browsers would have so many features they do now? Nope. Why? Because IE was the default browser on millions and millions of PCs, and even though people could switch to Firefox or Safari, it took a lot of features to get people to switch.

        As far as needing IE, people do NEED IE, espically if you are a corporation and want enterprise management. Which you can't get with any other browser in an Active Directory environent, which millions of PCs are on.

        I must admit, Microsoft dropped the ball with IE6 and allowing it to become so stale. However, they not only picked the ball up, they started really gaining ground.

        The same way IE got other browsers to keep innovating, Firefox and Safari are forcing Microsoft to get IE updated.

        My final thoughts: other browsers will continue to gain ground, but I still see the average joe and parents still use IE. The people really changing are younger, tech savy folks. It's these folks getting their friends and family to switch. Word of mouth will really benefit the Firefox movement. And the same movement is coming from people pro-IE. I, myself, will continue to tell people about Firefox, but I'll still recommend IE8 to everyone I know for average use. Here's why:

        For the average user, like my mom, I don't want them to get hit with countless updates.

        I know they don't want to worry about the number of customizations - Addons, themes, and such - Mainly because the more generic the system, the easier to trouble shoot - I can walk them through the steps to get around without worrying about random icons and colors or broken addons.

        I don't want to train them with a new browser that they would most likely get confused with at first. They don't do anything but email and news, so why worry? I know for a fact that the older generation does not like learning new tools.
        TylerM89
        • Sounds like you're the one with the agenda.

          I mean, seriously, with exception to the very valid point of MSIE and Active Directory, you recited the entire load of Microsoft propaganda about MSIE nearly word for word.

          [i]"But IE served as a standard browser that forced Firefox, Netscape, and Opera to add features that got them where they are. If IE didn't exist, do you really think any of the other browsers would have so many features they do now?"[/i]

          Bullhockey. Mozilla would have added features to Firefox regardless of whether MSIE was around. Unlike Microsoft, Mozilla has the benefit of focusing [b]solely[/b] on Firefox and Thunderbird. Microsoft, by stark contrast, has to worry about the integration of MSIE into the OS and its place in the OS as a whole, not just the browsing experience.

          Firefox's adoption rate was huge when it first hit the scene. They long surpassed IE6 and kept right on adding new features even after.

          Speaking of features, how long did it take IE to get tabbed browsing after other browsers had made it standard? Damn near 6 months. If your scenario is true, I don't see IE doing nearly as much "updating" as either Firefox or Safari did. They're just lumbering along as usual, expecting their product to be used because of their market leverage.

          [i]For the average user, like my mom, I don't want them to get hit with countless updates.[/i]
          [i]I don't want to train them with a new browser that they would most likely get confused with at first.[/i]

          These two lines are nothing but pure, out and out, FUD.

          First, a statement: My mother just left MSIE and went to Firefox 3.5. Not because I said anything to her about it - in fact, I rarely discuss computer things around her. No, she browsed for options to IE8 and got Firefox [b]on her own[/b]. She's 67. She's not confused by it at all. How does that fit into your "younger tech-savvy" sweeping generalization?

          "Countless updates"? Firefox, base, with no addons has had less updates than MSIE ever has. You have to download [i]many more updates[/i] for MSIE through Windows Update than you have to do for basic Firefox. In fact, you can go months without ever installing an update for Firefox, but if you go months without installing MSIE updates, you generally open your system up to administrator-level security holes.

          As for the older generation not liking to learn new tools, by your logic, they shouldn't even have computers. Once again, more unsubstantiated FUD to try to push your MSIE agenda.

          You go on and keep using IE.
          I'll keep on using a web browser that isn't integrated to the core of the OS.
          Captiosus
          • Can't forget this too...

            MSIE DOES have its updates... they're just hidden when they come around as IE is so integrated into the OS (AND MS won't promote a version without the integration, even when forced to offer it.) They (the MSIE updates) are hidden within Windows Updates.
            DaemonSlayer
        • And that would be you.

          [i]But IE served as a standard browser that forced Firefox, Netscape, and Opera to add features that got them where they are.[/i]

          Funny you should say IE is the Standard when in fact IE does not follow web standards (back then)

          [i]As far as needing IE, people do NEED IE, espically if you are a corporation and want enterprise management. Which you can't get with any other browser in an Active Directory environent, which millions of PCs are on.[/i]

          What does ActiveDirectory have to do with the browser?

          [i]For the average user, like my mom, I don't want them to get hit with countless updates.
          [/i]

          Use Chrome

          [i] I know they don't want to worry about the number of customizations - Addons, themes, and such - Mainly because the more generic the system, the easier to trouble shoot - I can walk them through the steps to get around without worrying about random icons and colors or broken addons. [/i]

          Use Chrome

          [i]I don't want to train them with a new browser that they would most likely get confused with at first. They don't do anything but email and news, so why worry?[/i]

          Use Chrome
          massivegas
        • Whoosh....

          [i]But IE served as a standard browser that forced Firefox, Netscape, and Opera to add features that got them where they are. If IE didn't exist, do you really think any of the other browsers would have so many features they do now? Nope. Why? Because IE was the default browser on millions and millions of PCs, and even though people could switch to Firefox or Safari, it took a lot of features to get people to switch.[/i]

          Right. And I have a bridge to sell you. Painted green & yellow. lol...

          If it hadn't been for the likes of FF and Opera, we'd all still be using security swiss cheese like IE6 and cleaning even more malware off the ying-yang then we are now.

          And don't even bring up Netscape. It was your pals over at M$ that put them out of business because of the topic at hand...
          Wintel BSOD
  • RE: Microsoft to change default browser setting option in IE 8

    Now it's too bad that other software ask before making themselves the default for other types of software. PowerDVD, Nero, QuickTime and others all do this without asking.
    Gis Bun
    • Absolutely agree

      I don't mind being offered a choice to change a default, and I don't even mind that they tell me that they "strongly recommend" I change the default, but it always should be an opt-in option, not an opt-out option.
      Michael Kelly
  • RE: Microsoft to change default browser setting option in IE 8

    I mostly use Microsoft tools but gladly also fel comfortable with other tools and in Linux but I find all this a shame. All people calling Microsoft for having internet explorer in the system. You don't want it, don't use it! Its simple. Sometimes i prefer to use Firefox sometimes i don't. Neither interferes with the other. I have a starting point (ie) and more choice (firefox, opera, chrome, etc): great. Shall we beat Microsoft around the head for dearing to include Windows explorer since it can't be uninstalled and there have always been other 3rd party directory explorers since the begining of dos times? Shall we tell Tesco, Asda, etc to stop selling meat, bread because each town has a butcher and a baker?!
    Of course not. If you're a vendor, you strenghten your product the best/most you can. If others can't compete, well its though! The real outcome is that IE will still be the better browser, european internet users will be suffering the inconvenience of having to now download a browser to start using the internet and instead of improving the product the rulling had microsoft deviate valuable resouces from making the OS that little bit better more secure, more user friendly as time was wasted. Live with it, if you don't like it, don't use it. Live and let live. Simple.
    ipedrossubs@...
    • The real outcome is that IE will still be the better browser - bad joke

      IE does not follow W3C standards and it will never do that - because Microsoft's 'agenda' is to set out its own standards in a (foolishly doomed) effort to convince the world they are better ones.

      Unfortunately, they're wrong. And don't think IE will not be part of Windows 7 for EU victims (sorry, customers). Of course it will. It'll just be turned off, switch on-able from a simple box tick (which of course can be done by any update).

      The truth of the matter is, websites look better in non-MS browsers. Programmers must test not only for IE, but also for the version, and write specific code accordingly. This not only provides programming overhead, it also slows delivery as the server has to determine beforehand which browser is being used in order to deliver content that will render correctly. It is interesting that ONLY IE has to be tested for and accommodated.

      Our site has a lovely appearance - in non-MS browsers that is. In IE, whilst (if you've not seen the Firefox version) it looks good, comparing the FF rendering with IE's, you can very quickly see that IE is INFERIOR. In FF, Opera, Chrome etc, it doesn't look good; it looks great. But then we program to proper standards.
      Snak