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Rivals aren't convinced by Microsoft's one-click default browser change

Optional update should apply to all users, says Vivaldi boss

Microsoft's one-click default browser change under Windows 11 is being met with raised eyebrows from its browser rivals.

The app tweak was emitted in the most recent set of optional cumulative updates for Windows 11, replacing the painfully granular way in which users are required to switch from the Edge browser to something else.

Vivaldi boss Jon von Tetzchner told The Register: "It has always been our stance that Microsoft, and others like them, should make it easy for users to choose to use the products that suit them.

"This should apply to all users, not just the ones who are technically competent enough to realize that they need to install an optional update, and know how to actually do so. It should be installed for all users.

"While they have made an attempt, the fact that it has been done the way it has leads to the assumption that it is only being done to avoid being prosecuted for anticompetitive behavior, not to actually solve the underlying problem."

Prior to the change, the need to click through all the protocols and file types that needed to be associated taxed even the most enthusiastic users. Most would likely not bother, and simply stick with the default.

Ending on a vaguely ominous note for the Windows maker, Von Tetzchner concluded: "Microsoft should make it as easy for all users to use other browsers, as it is to use Edge, and stop abusing their power to push Edge onto users.

"They continue to try to make it harder to switch to and use other browsers. We look forward to the EU following up on this malpractice."

He isn't alone. Fellow browser-maker Mozilla told The Register that Microsoft was moving in the right direction, but said "more can be done to respect default browser choice on Windows.

"People should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults and all operating systems should offer official developer support for default status."

The Firefox maker added: "In practice, we'd like to also see progress on reducing the number of steps required to set a new browser as default, and on opening and making APIs available for apps to set default that other Microsoft applications use."

Mozilla had found a way to programmatically deal with the multiple steps needed to switch defaults with a single-click before Microsoft made the necessary changes.

Microsoft would be wise to tread carefully when it comes to setting defaults on Windows. As 2021 drew to a close, the company drew criticism for pushing its own browser to the detriment of others and Vivaldi's Von Tetzchner at the time took the company to task over what he described as "anticompetitive practices."

The browser-maker's boss said at the time that he found Microsoft's products very insistent that users stuck with Edge, to the point where it was recommended when he searched with Bing for Vivaldi, and noted repeated pleas via dialog popups from Microsoft asking that he stick with the Windows giant's Chromium-based browser as he attempted to switch over. ®

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