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Mozilla, Opera say Windows 7 anti-competitive

updated 08:05 am EDT, Thu May 7, 2009

Mozilla Complains on Win 7

Mozilla and Opera on Thursday criticized Microsoft over settings in the Windows 7 release candidate that they claim are designed to be anti-competitive. The two web browser developers point out to FT that users who opt to upgrade to Windows 7 from Vista rather than install fresh are given an "express" option that automatically reverts the default browser to Internet Explorer even if Firefox, Opera or another browser was set as the default before. Although the "custom" choice lets users maintain this setting, Mozilla and Opera argue that Microsoft is hoping most users won't be aware of this or that it will be considered too much extra work.

"Our initial review suggests this is a blatant use of the Windows operating system to change the market dynamics of browser usage," Mozilla chairman Mitchell Baker said, further contending that Microsoft's attempt to revert settings is a "clear example" of why the Windows monopoly is flawed.

Opera CTO Hakon Wium Lie echoed the statements and said the express option was an example of a "problem" with the current browser environment.

The complaints are ill-timed for Microsoft, as it faces a June antitrust hearing where it will defend itself against European Commission accusations that it violates antitrust laws through its bundling of Internet Explorer. Officials have said Microsoft's requirement that Internet Explorer be present in every copy of Windows, even if not the default, give it an unfair advantage over browsers that are usually just optional.

by MacNN Staff



  1. snork

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I know M$ is the 800 lb gorilla, but anybody that uses Firefox and Opera had to personally install it in the first place. So they already know enough to use a "alternative" browser, I don't think it'll be a big deal for these people to switch it back. Besides, usually when you run a browser for the first time it asks if you want it to be the default.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    too much work?

    Although the "custom" choice lets users maintain this setting, Mozilla and Opera argue that Microsoft is hoping most users won't be aware of this or that it will be considered too much extra work.

    Or, I don't know, you could just open Firefox or Opera, which I'm sure are set up to annoy the h*** out of the user if they aren't the default browser and you can change the browser. Or open the "Default Programs" control panel and change it there.

    Then again, on Macs, Safari is the default, and you have to go into Safari to change it to something else (unless the other app also supports this feature - which should be in system preferences, by the way). Same with Mail...

    Seems more like the Firefox and Opera people really just like trying to push MS around with the antitrust hammer.

    But they are right. Windows should come with no browser at all, and force the users to download the browser they want to use. Of course, how they'll be able to get to the web to do that is beyond me.

  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's a valid complaint because how many people have set Firefox as the default browser for their parents our internet retarded friends? Honestly while they might not lose a lot especially Firefox stands to loose some brain dead market share... who are really the users who need Firefox.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If your browser is already set to use a specific application, then it's no ones business to override that setting and have you go through the trouble or resetting it. MicroSHIT does that because it knows that no one in their right mind would use their garbage (unless of course they're a complete idiot). And traditionally, MicroSHIT has always assumed and acted that users are lazy morons. So yes, this should be reported and acted upon.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    abourt the article...

    ...normally I agree - anything Anti-Mircosoft is a plus. However - the arguement is worng. They took steps in XP and Vista to allow for 3rd Party Browsers to be installed. I assume the same for Win 7. Setting the DEFAULT BROWSER to something else is a no-brainer. And I as stupid as the general public tends to be beyond anything past breathing - their collective tech-savvyness has drastically increased over the years.

    More and more Internet Retarded People (to take a line from Salty) are doing stuff like locking down their wireless networks. Where as a few years ago I could scan an apartment complex and find 15 open wi-fi networks and never have to pay for internet service.

    The point is that if these same folks are capable of locking down a wi-fi network they can change browser settings to acccommodate their needs.

    But you all are missing the issue to begin with - Micorsoft has integrated Internet Explorer into the OS itself. They did this with XP and Vista and I'm assuming that Mozilla and Opera have their panties in a bunch beacuse M$ might have integrated Internet Explorer into the Windows 7 OS as well. I don't know - haven't read up on Win 7 as Vista was c*** and I just all around try to avoid Windows as much as possible these days.

    But this whole thing is to try and force M$ to not embed Internet Explorer into their OS - so that if I as the user want to completely remove Internet Explorer from the OS I should be able to do that.

    Granted Safari comes pre-installed on a Mac OS these days - however - If I choose to remove Safari from my OS I can still efrfectively use my OS without any issues.

  1. thedude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    internet explorer

    Internet explorer is effectively explorer.exe which is the only way you can see your files in windows. If they eliminated explorer.exe then you would not be able to use windows at all. In XP and I assume vista they limited what explorer.exe could do, but it still can be used to get on the web. IE7 and IE8 are actually separate programs that run pieces of explorer.exe.
    The argument is not about the inclusion of the new browser with the OS. It is about changing users default settings without asking first.
    I was pissed when Safari for windows installed extra stuff without asking, this is no different. Whether is is actually anti competitive or not well.... as a business owner, if I could get people to buy my product even when they ordered something else..... you see the point.


  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I am sorry, but it is not that difficult to open a browser.

    Folks claim that the "parents" might not realize the change or know how to fix it. REMEMBER, this occurs after an upgrade of Windows 7 from Vista. I seriously doubt the "parents" would be installing a new OS if they cannot handle changing browsers.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the dude

    How is this any different than (on a Windows machine) when Apple's software manager automatically chooses the option to install Safari when updating iTunes or Quicktime?

    I DON'T WANT Safari on my system. I use Firefox and am very happy with it. Yet, my wife accidentally installed Safari because of Apple's software update.

  1. csmith

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Safari vs Windows 7

    The point here is that Micro$lop was declared a Monopoly, has been found guilty of anticompetitive practices in the past, and is coming up for review for further monitoring soon. If Micro$lop did this with the intention of boosting sagging IE web presence then they need to be nailed to the wall hard.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Best Practices

    Whether Windows or Mac, it's not a real good idea to install one version of the operating system on top of another.

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