Microsoft Making It Harder for People to Choose Their Own Browsers

Microsoft Making It Harder for People to Choose Their Own Browsers

( – When Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015, it said it would be the last release of Windows. They would deliver improvements as incremental upgrades instead of releasing an entirely new operating system from then on. The company reversed that decision in June, 2021. Next year, Windows 11 will be in stores — and early adopters can already upgrade to a pre-release version.

Now, some of those early adopters are starting to highlight issues with Windows 11. It seems it doesn’t play nice with third-party web browsers, preferring to steer users towards Microsoft’s Edge. The problem is most PC users prefer to use Google’s Chrome browser, which has an estimated 65% market share (compared with less than 5% for Edge).

Making Life Difficult

Going by early versions of Windows 11, Microsoft has found a new way to encourage people to use Edge instead of Chrome. According to reports, they plan on making it infuriatingly challenging to change your default browser. Although the company claims Windows 11 is “a calm and creative space” where you can “think, express, and create in a natural way,” that apparently doesn’t apply to switching browsers, as they’ve actually removed some of Windows 10’s functionality.

In Windows 10, if you install Chrome (or any other browser), the OS asks you if you want to make it your default browser. This change is quick and easy to make. In Windows 11, however, they deleted the function entirely. While you can set an alternate browser as your default app right after installing it, this is a step that’s easy to miss. If you do, you’ll need to go into settings and set your preferred alternative as the default application for every file type that opens in a browser – and there are a lot of them.

Bad Old Ways?

This latest move is just the most recent in a series of attempts from Microsoft to push people into using its own browsers. When the original Internet Explorer was released, it was bundled free with Windows 95 OSR1. That sparked an antitrust case against the company, plus legal action by the European Union that quickly descended into farce.

Back then, Microsoft wasn’t actually making it difficult to use a different browser. They just supplied their own one with Windows and (quite reasonably) didn’t supply competing products.

What they’re doing now is much, much worse. Windows 11’s changes make it look like the company specifically intended to make other browsers harder to use. Could a pushback by early adopters persuade Microsoft to restore the deleted functionality?

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