Let's face it, for the average PC user Internet Explorer is such a target for hackers and cyber-criminals that they can really do without it. Why do we still not have PCs targeted at average users that come with Firefox or Opera pre-installed?
I'm not using this post to overly bash Internet Explorer but the facts speak for themselves. A trip over to Secunia proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Internet Explorer attracts attention from hackers and criminals. There's a huge upside to getting the average home user off of IE and onto a safer browser.
When it comes to PC manufacturers I'm constantly amazed. They go to great lengths to load up new PCs with all kinds of craplets that are of little or no use to the end user because the software is trial stuff, crippleware, old versions or just plain useless, but they won't actually install software that's really useful and going to benefit users. And lets be honest, when it comes to security, it's not going to get much better for the end user than installing Firefox or Opera.
But, back in the real world, the OEMs just don't seem to be doing this, and I really can't see why. Both browsers are nice and fast (excluding Firefox's memory leak ... bug or feature, I really wish they'd fix that), reliable, easy to use and most websites work properly displayed in them. Both browsers also feature update mechanisms, although Firefox's is better and updates the browser quietly in the background. Perfect for users who ignore update reminders.
So, what's holding Firefox and Opera back? Well, I know that some will say that it's Microsoft strong-arming the OEMs and keeping them in line. I don't buy that. Plenty of OEMs ship non-Microsoft software such as Norton Antivirus and WordPerfect. No, I think it has more to do with support and compatibility. I don't think that customers (and the OEMs themselves) will be happy sending users off to web forums looking for support. Also when it comes to compatibility, Firefox and Opera might offer better standards compliance than IE does, but there are a lot of websites out there that only support Internet Explorer. Try explaining to a home user why he or she can't download content from Wal-Mart using Firefox. Standards compliance isn't going to mean a thing, it's real-world compliance that they are looking for.
Thoughts? Would shipping Firefox or Opera as the default browser on new PCs make the computing world a safer place or are there too many websites that need IE out there? What could Mozilla do to help OEMs adopt Firefox?