Microsoft Stops Making IE8 Default Browser - Again

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News Posted: Tue, Aug 11 2009 3:47 PM
Microsoft promised a federal judge it would stop designating Internet Explorer 8 as the default browser on express installations by today.

This was part of its antitrust settlement compliance report, in response to an accusation in May by Mozilla and Opera that the software giant was changing users' default browsers back to IE8 when they used the Windows Update service.

One of the options in the update service is "Express," which - as the name implies - completes the installation the fastest and with the least amount of input from the user. But if the user had already designated another browser such as Firefox, Opera or Chrome as his default, the Express update overwrote it and made IE8 the go-to browser on the computer.

The Department of Justice pointed out that "unsophisticated users" were the most likely to choose the Express option when updating, and these users were the most likely to be confused by the process.

"Even though it was possible for the user to revert to the original default browser, [the state plaintiffs in the antitrust case] were concerned that the Express process was confusing, especially for unsophisticated users."

The new update install will have a screen pop up first that asks users, clearly, what they want the default browser to be.

The report that resolved the status update issue also "addressed a long-time complaint about problems with technical documentation for communication protocols that Microsoft is required to share as part of the November 2002 antitrust judgment imposed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia."



Basically, because of the problems in the 30,000 pages of technical documentation, parts of the antitrust decree was extended until May 2011. The lawyers with the 19 states involved in the antitrust suit said they thought Microsoft was doing better and making progress on resolving those problems.

A compliance hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

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The whole default browser lawsuits fiasco has bothered me.  Shouldn't Microsoft be able to do what they want with their OS?  When I want to download iTunes I'm basically forced to get Quicktime with it - where's the lawsuit against Apple?

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I really don't have this problem so I don't know quite what to say. IE8 seems to be acting fine for me - I have Opera set as the default browser and it works just fine.

Tried it and I don't see a problem.

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that's very true. But i think quicktime can be downloaded without itunes, not sure if the reverse is allowed. But no one screams when apple does it.

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I-tunes needs quicktime's codec, unless I'm mistaken.  I believe that Microsoft should do what they want, think about it, the majority of the people who use a computer don't really know much about computers and look for the easiest way to get things rolling.

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Super Dave replied on Wed, Aug 12 2009 12:55 AM

I'm not an Internet Explorer kinda-guy, but Win7 RC build 7100 gave me a chance to give it a whirl. IE8 is soooo slooooow. Yuk. If you don't believe me, read HERE. I'll take Chrome or Firefox, thank you very much, and if IE8 isn't installed with my next operating system, so much the better!

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mhenriday replied on Wed, Aug 12 2009 7:43 AM

The short answer to Crisis Causer's post above is No, Microsoft should not, given it's quasi-monopoly position in the desktop OS market, be allowed to do what it wants with its OS, if doing what it wants is a transparent attempt at lock-in in order to stifle competition in the browser market, which, thanks largely to the efforts of the Mozilla Foundation and the qualities of its Firefox browser, has finally become a more open market. Users would not be served by a return to the situation obtaining five years ago, with a quasi-monopoly on the browser side as well. Now we have the opportunity to choose from several different browsers, such as Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc, in additions to Microsoft's product, Internet Explorer. Let's keep it that way !...

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I use Firefox and encourage its support.  Forcing IE8 as the default browser is a bit much, but if it's only because the user clicked express and did not specify otherwise then that's they're problem.  And getting back into Firefox shouldn't be hard.

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Most people dont even know that other web browsers are out there... and for those people IE8 will be just fine for them.

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mhenriday replied on Wed, Aug 12 2009 3:18 PM

Of course most users choose «Express installation» - after all, it's recommended by Microsoft and does, in fact, represent the wisest choice for users who are not very familiar with computer software (like Microsoft, I always recommend those fellow users I help to select «Express Installation»), as otherwise they will be confronted with further choices they are hardly equipped to make). But precisely for this reason, Microsoft should not be allowed to use «Express Installation» to effect changes in user settings that users have not mandated, of which automatically setting IE8 as the default browser when previously a non-Microsoft product was the default is a prime example. Any such change should only occur after the user has given specific, opt-in permission. The new window which pops up during the IE8-installation process seems to fulfill reasonable requirements - let us hope that we don't discover that after a few weeks Microsoft has eliminated it !...

Der Meister, I don't know what «most people» know or don't know - but as current statistics from StatCounter (http://preview.tinyurl.com/nyfqqq ) reveal, here in Europe at least, Firefox and IE seem to be running almost neck-and-neck in the browser market, so some people do seem to be aware that other browsers than Internet Explorer exist....

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Sure when you look at Europe, But when setting it to world wide 28% for FF and 63% for IE... I'll stick with most people dont know others are even out there

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realneil replied on Wed, Aug 12 2009 5:28 PM

Der Meister said: "Most people don't even know that other web browsers are out there"

Maybe true to the least tech savvy people out there, but those of us who do know the difference are never tired of helping them to choose something better.

Quoting speed tests and statistics falls on deaf ears when allot of us have spent YEARS dealing with IE security issues. Using IE is like being "Slowly Pecked To Death By Chickens".

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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I dont always agree with some of Microsofts practices but its there software and I like some others here beleive they have the right to do what they want in this case.

 

 

 

 

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kid007 replied on Sat, Aug 15 2009 9:42 PM

What i hate is that everytime you buy a system now it come with more bloatware ( i so wanted to say something else). I'm with Crisis 100% most of you guys know that i have defended microsoft and will for a long time.

I will give you another example, i got the 3gs i love the phone, however i was force to get a stupid itunes card for me to download 2 free application how freaking retarted is that! HELLO the damn things is FREE and i needed to either put my credit card (which is a NO NO!) or get a stupid $15 card. it was kind of funny when the geek told me you want to install i-tune into your laptop. I was like hell no!

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digitaldd replied on Mon, Aug 17 2009 10:39 AM

I read this on eweek under an hour ago & thought it was interesting. imagine now that someone has done a study that says IE8 is more secure than other browsers Microsoft stops setting it as the default. Most people will just do the default express install anyway, same for mozilla, firefox, chrome safari and opera. then whine when their default choice is overwritten.

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mhenriday replied on Mon, Aug 17 2009 10:48 AM

Wonder who sponsored that «independent» study - interested readers get three guesses, the last two of which are superfluous....

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Julia2009 replied on Tue, Aug 18 2009 4:02 AM

yes

it's true.

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